Colvista: the sequel

Scary plan: Allowing dense development so near Loch Raven Reservoir would be a mistake.

November 01, 1999

IT'S fitting that Florida-based Security Management Corp. announced its intention to revive its Colvista development plan the week of Halloween. Like Freddy Krueger, the slasher who refused to die in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" movies, this project keeps coming back.

For more than 22 years, developer Victor Posner's SMC has lobbied for a zoning change on land that runs along York and Phoenix roads near Sparks. Originally, the company proposed more than 3,000 units on the property, which is zoned to allow only 43 single-family homes. When that was rejected, the developer sought to rezone three-quarters of the 215 acres for 1,500 townhouses and condominiums. After a lengthy court battle, that plan was also rejected.

Baltimore County officials have correctly asserted that rezoning this land to accommodate dense development would be inappropriate. Located near the Loch Raven Reservoir, a major source of the region's drinking water, the property is not slated to be served by public sewers. Its steams and steep slopes channel runoff into the reservoir.

SMC made its latest rezoning request to build 150 high-priced houses on the property. It also seeks public sewer service.

But this land lies outside the Metropolitan District, the area in which public sewers and water can be provided. Sewer lines have been extended beyond the Metropolitan District, but only when septic systems have failed. Nothing compels the county to alter that policy for this development.

This scaled-downed development belongs in a growth area like Owings Mills or White Marsh. For two decades, Baltimore County officials have stood firm on that position. They shouldn't back down now.

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