Inn proposal worries residents

Barney House plan raises concerns about noise, traffic

March 16, 2000|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

A plan to transform a historic home in Savage into a country inn has residents worried about the possible noise and traffic it might bring to their small enclave.

Susan Betts, owner of the Joshua Barney House, has applied for a special exception to convert the single-family, two-story brick home into an inn.

Plans for the house, which is on about 7 acres, include four bedrooms to accommodate guests and a 1,900-square-foot addition.

The dwelling, in the 7900 block of Savage-Guilford Road, was built about 1811 by Commodore Joshua Barney, a hero of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Howard County Planning Board recommended this week that the special exception be granted, and a Board of Appeals hearing on the issue has been scheduled for April 20.

David A. Carney, Betts' lawyer, says his client plans to renovate the home and live in it.

In addition to booking overnight guests, the inn also would be open to seminars, gatherings and receptions of no more than 50 people, he said.

"There will only be four bedrooms, so if you multiply that out, that's eight people staying overnight at one time with only two people to a room," Carney said. "The expansion is only to add owners' quarters to the house."

Bobby Austin lives next door to the property and shares a driveway with the house.

Austin said he is concerned that the number of people who might be allowed on the site would also include caterers and other staff needed for functions.

"So, naturally that 50 number will grow," said Austin, who has lived in his home for two years. "I don't believe they should be able to hold outside events and things like that so close to someone else's home."

Other issues are traffic and parking.

Community residents say traffic is strained because of nearby Bollman Bridge Elementary School and Patuxent Valley Middle School.

Jenny Jones has lived for almost 19 years in her grandfather's house a few doors from the proposed inn, and she said she also is worried about such things as noise and lights from inn events.

"Even if they used some type of enclosure, with 50 people there is still going to be noise," Jones said. "We haven't figured out who or how all that will be monitored."

Carney said his client is working with Howard County officials to ensure that the inn will be a good neighbor.

Carney said initial findings in a traffic study show that congestion has peak patterns.

"The traffic that would come out of there would be minimal," Carney said.

"Most of the traffic in the area occurs as people are dropping off or picking up students [from the schools], and the activities would not interfere with the normal school hours and those peak traffic areas," he added.

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