Opponents consider appeal of Maple Lawn approval

Zoning Board backs development project

January 07, 2001|By Alec MacGillis | Alec MacGillis,SUN STAFF

Opponents of the Maple Lawn development proposed for southern Howard County say they will decide in the coming days whether to appeal the county Zoning Board's formal approval of the project, which was released last week.

The board's 40-page "Decision and Order" made final its October ruling, in a 3-2 vote, to approve the project after more than 30 public hearings. The plan brought forward by developer Stewart Greenebaum calls for about 1,100 housing units and about 1.2 million square feet of commercial space on the approximately 500-acre property, a Fulton turkey farm off Route 216.

"The plan and criteria will foster orderly growth, integration of uses, appropriate fiscal impact, and development consistent with the purposes of the (mixed-use) district," the zoning category that the property is under, wrote board members C. Vernon Gray, Mary C. Lorsung and Guy J. Guzzone.

In their dissent, board members Allan H. Kittleman and Christopher J. Merdon argued that the project should have contained more commercial space and less housing to comply with the principle behind mixed-use districts.

"Increasing the employment land would have provided a much better fiscal impact for the surrounding community and Howard County," the dissenters wrote. "By allowing the [developer] to proceed with only the minimum amount of employment land, we are losing a golden opportunity to improve our economic development."

John Adolfson, a resident opposed to the project, said yesterday that he and other critics of the plan would decide shortly whether to appeal the ruling in court. Opponents have 30 days to appeal - a costly process, because it requires paying for copies of transcripts of all the hearings on the proposal, which could cost as much as $20,000.

"There's been talk but no consensus about what to do yet," Adolfson said.

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