Developers and communities

Greater communication: Getting residents on-board with projects can save time and money.

June 25, 1999

DEVELOPERS hurt themselves when they fail to build a relationship with residents in areas where they want to build.

Baltimore County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger pointedly advised homebuilders at a conference in Columbia this week that keeping residents abreast of plans can save time and money. Better to respond to concerns while drafting plans rather after they're presented, he said.

That lesson is bearing out in Anne Arundel County, where the Mills Corp. held a series of meetings to discuss its 1.4-million-square-foot shopping outlet proposed near Baltimore-Washington International Airport in Hanover. The result? Broad community support so far and speedy approval of plans.

Too often, however, communities feel that projects are shoved down their throats, threatening any hope of compromise.

In Howard County, the Rouse Co. recently received approval to build 1,145 homes in a mixed-use development in North Laurel, but not before encountering rancorous opposition. Five miles west of that project, in Fulton, residents are trying to delay construction of another large mixed-use project, with 1,168 homes, by Stewart G. Greenebaum. And in Ellicott City, Covenant Baptist Church has angered residents and politicians who say the church was less than forthcoming about its intention to build senior citizen residences next to the new church it wants to erect. Howard council members Guy J. Guzzone and Allan H. Kittleman have sought to retract earlier approval for water service to the project.

Some developers may avoid community notification because they fear the folks who oppose anything being built anywhere.

But developers can become better neighbors and save themselves grief, money and time by reaching out to those residents who would appreciate being part of the process.

Pub Date: 6/25/99

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