On a course for change

Growth: A wave of development in northwestern Baltimore County includes plans for a retirement community, homes, a school and an 18-hole golf course.

November 13, 2001|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

In a case of musical-chairs development, Bonnie View Country Club plans to relocate to Reisterstown and sell its golf course near Mount Washington to a developer that plans to build a retirement community.

The moves are part of a wave of development in northwestern Baltimore County that includes converting a rock quarry into a housing development and a country club into a yeshiva.

Bonnie View plans to move to 217 acres of farmland at Mount Gilead Road and Route 30.

"It's a beautiful piece of land that we think works for us," said Bonnie View President Sidney Weiman. "A lot of our members live not too far from there."

The move, which would take about two years, is contingent on the club's selling its 167-acre golf course, which straddles the Baltimore city-county line just north of Mount Washington.

Stavrou Associates of Lanham, has agreed to pay $15 million for the Bonnie View property at 2201 Smith Ave., which it plans to convert into a community for people 55 and older, Weiman said.

Stavrou intends to build up to 550 single-family houses, townhouses and condominiums within the golf course, which would still be playable.

"We think it's a great location," Stavrou Vice President David Priddy said of Bonnie View. "It's a great piece of property and a great market."

Neighborhood groups, such as the Pikesville-Greenspring Community Coalition, said they will not take a position on the proposal until formal plans are unveiled.

The project is one of several in the works in the region, including:

Redevelopment of Arundel Corp.'s former 255-acre quarry along Greenspring Avenue into a lakeside community of 100 single-family homes and 499 condominiums. Formal plans for the project have not been filed with the county.

A yeshiva that has been established at the site of the former Summit Country Club at 6823 Old Pimlico Road. The school, operated by Bais Hamedrash and Mesivta of Baltimore, has an enrollment of about 75 students. It opened in August.

Development of 78 acres next to St. Timothy's School on Greenspring Avenue. Odyssey School, a 140-student school for dyslexic children in Roland Park, is building a campus on 42 acres. On an additional 36 acres, Gaylord Brooks Investment Co. Inc. plans to build 19 homes.

The 14-member Bonnie View board of directors voted unanimously for the move, and Weiman said 76 percent of the 330 members of the country club support the change.

The club hopes to build a championship-level golf course on property acquired for an undisclosed amount. Formerly corn fields, it lies in the county's rural conservation zone. For the course to be built, the county zoning commissioner would have to approve a special exception.

"We don't anticipate a problem," Weiman said.

Preservationists say they are concerned about the plan because it involves farmland. Though the county was won praise for controlling sprawl - most recently, in reports by the Baltimore Regional Partnership and 1000 Friends of Maryland - it has lost about 25 percent of its agricultural land in the past 16 years.

"Our overall concern is that it's going to be another impact on agriculture," said Jack Dillon, executive director of the Valleys Planning Council. "Any use that takes out land from production is a concern for us."

Formal plans for the property have not been submitted to the county. The land owned by Bonnie View in Mount Washington is in a zone that would allow the retirement community, Weiman said.

Stavrou is building an 800-home retirement community in Upper Marlboro and apartments for the elderly in Silver Spring.

Bonnie View plans to build an 18-hole golf course and a practice facility and driving range that would accommodate 40 people.

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