Howard planners OK project of 57 homes in Ellicott City

Neighbors oppose plan, fearing growth problems

July 02, 1999|By Alice Lukens | Alice Lukens,SUN STAFF

With very little fanfare, the Howard County Planning Board approved yesterday yet another development project on the 400-or-so acre Taylor property in Ellicott City.

The board voted 4-1 to approve plans for Autumn View IV, which would place 57 single-family houses on about 23 acres off scenic College Avenue.

The project is one of several planned for the town's largest undeveloped plot, owned by Dr. Bruce Taylor, medical director and chief executive officer of Taylor Manor Hospital in Ellicott City, and his family. Together, the projects would put more than 500 homes on the property.

Donald L. Reuwer, president of Land Design and Development Inc. in Columbia and project manager for the building projects, said about 50 houses will be built each year over the next 10 to 12 years.

Nearby residents came to the hearing yesterday to protest the plans because they fear that the construction will lead to crowding on the roads -- especially the many scenic ones -- and in the schools, and burden sewage systems.

"Every time we approve another development in this fragile watershed, we are driving another nail into the coffin," said Lee Walker Oxenham, an Ellicott City activist involved in environmental issues.

J. Landon Reeve, a member of the Planning Board, said he was concerned about density and traffic, too, but that he felt obligated to approve the project because "the developer has met the rules."

Gary Kaufman, the only board member to vote against the project, agreed that it met all of the criteria for approval, but he said his conscience prevented him from voting for the project.

"I think the county really needs to look at different criteria for traffic," he said.

Pub Date: 7/02/99

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