School offers new plans

Woodmont Academy alters proposal for move to 53-acre site

Minor changes made

Residents opposed, predict area's roads will be overwhelmed


May 21, 2001|By Jamie Smith Hopkins | Jamie Smith Hopkins,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore County Catholic school that wants to relocate to western Howard has submitted new plans for its 53-acre site in Glenwood, ending a six-month delay of the contentious proposal.

Woodmont Academy, which has not been assigned a date with the county Planning Board, pulled its previous plan last fall to make small changes.

"The plans are pretty much the same," said Keith Laser, the school's principal. "[We] had to make some allowances for the placement of the septic field."

Glenwood residents who believe that the school would overwhelm the area's rural roads were disappointed. They had hoped the delay was a signal that school officials were reconsidering their plans. "I think it's just way too obtrusive," said Betty Adams, an attorney who lives near the property. "I think 26 houses would be far less obtrusive than a [multi-]building school."

She said she fears a dangerous increase in traffic on Dorsey Mill Road, near the planned site. The road is unsafe, she said, because it's oddly banked and freezes quickly in the winter.

Woodmont Academy, which offers classes in kindergarten through eighth grade, sits on 7 acres in the Baltimore County area of Woodstock. The school has grown from 49 pupils in 1995, when it opened, to 205. Nearly 60 percent of the pupils live in Howard, Laser said. Officials want to move the school to Glenwood and expand. They plan to open with two buildings in 2003 and construct five more to serve 1,100 students, said Laser.

He contends that the school won't produce as much extra traffic as residents expect, because, he said, half of Woodmont's students carpool. The school also intends to offer bus service, he added.

He said he thinks the site, which officials bought for about $1 million in 1999, is a good place for the school.

"It's a beautiful location," Laser said, adding that school officials didn't have much to choose from in Howard County. "There's just not that much out there anymore."

The Preserve Scenic Glenelg/Glenwood Association, which formed in response to the school's plans, met last week to restart the battle. "We really are going to gear up," said Adams, a member of the group, "because nobody's opinion has changed based on the changes that were made."

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