Quarry housing plans might be scaled back

Baltimore County officials talking to Arundel Corp.

July 28, 1999|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

Plans to build hundreds of homes at two huge Baltimore County quarry sites could be sharply cut as a result of negotiations between County Council members and the owner of the quarries.

Council Chairman Kevin B. Kamenetz said yesterday he is discussing with Arundel Corp. plans to scale back its proposal to build 800 homes at the 286-acre site of Greenspring Quarry. The quarry is expected to close this year.

"Arundel has discussed a willingness to work with me and with the community to amend their plans," Kamenetz said after an hourlong meeting yesterday with officials of Arundel Corp.

The size of the potential cutback at Greenspring Quarry has yet to be determined, Kamenetz said.

Councilman T. Bryan McIntire, whose district includes Arundel's 125-acre Delight Quarry, said Arundel is proposing a 20 percent reduction in the number of homes and shops to be built at that quarry in Reisterstown.

"They've shown a willingness to compromise," said McIntire, a north county-Owings Mills Republican.

The discussions were prompted by a bill introduced by Kamenetz, a Pikesville-Randallstown Democrat, that would give the council power to review -- and possibly reject -- Arundel's plans to develop the quarry sites.

The measure would reverse a 1984 county law that exempts quarry development plans from council review. The law requires only planning board approval and allows approved quarry plans to be renewed every 15 years.

Daniel E. Williard, president of Arundel Corp., confirmed yesterday that Arundel is discussing the possibility of scaling back plans for both sites.

"Certainly it's our intention, as it has been our intention all along, to work with the council members and with the community," Williard said yesterday.

Arundel won planning board approval in 1985 for 800 homes and numerous shops and business at the Greenspring Quarry site around a 500-foot deep lake that would be formed after the quarry is closed. The approval was renewed in 1995.

The Hunt Valley company also won approval in January for 100 single-family homes, 120 townhouses and 256 apartments and an 80,000-square-foot village cen- ter at the 125-acre Delight Quarry site.

Company officials told council members yesterday that both approvals were granted only after they met with community leaders and agreed to concessions that cost them millions of dollars.

"Those were arduous and difficult negotiations that took place," said Francis Knott, who was president of Arundel when it was sold in 1987 to Florida Rock Industries Corp. of Jacksonville, Fla.

County administration officials have expressed concern that Arundel might sue if Kamenetz's bill is passed.

Rob Hoffman, a lawyer for Arundel, said Florida Rock purchased Arundel with the understanding that the Greenspring Quarry site was approved for residential development. That approved use was "valued in the millions of dollars" at the time.

The council is due to vote on Kamenetz's bill Monday night.

Pub Date: 7/28/99

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