Residents critical of Church Road project

Three-house proposal called inappropriate

May 31, 2002|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

About a dozen people gathered yesterday to criticize a proposed three-home development on Church Road in Ellicott City's historic district, saying that the properties would be too small to fit the existing pattern of development and would cause ecological damage.

Further adding to their aggravation, Donald R. Reuwer Jr., the project's developer, did not attend the meeting, which was supposed to facilitate communication between residents and developers.

"We thought [Reuwer] would be here to hear our concerns," said Gary Segal, who lives near the site of the proposed homes. "We recognize this is a special place ... and we wanted to make sure he heard that."

Reuwer did not return phone calls late yesterday afternoon, but an aide said the developer had parking problems.

Representatives of Reuwer's company, Land Design & Development Inc., took notes during the meeting and promised to forward them to Reuwer.

Each of the proposed homes would sit on nearly half-acre plots not far from Patapsco Female Institute. Most homes along Church Road are on multi-acre plots and some homeowners said the new homes would not fit in.

"They would be significant structures on a historic site that just wouldn't be appropriate," said Maureen Stewart, who lives on Church Road.

Some also fretted that construction could cause erosion or storm water retention problems.

But the biggest concern was that the project could set a precedent. Residents are fiercely protective of the road and are suing to stop another proposed development, Woods at Park Place, a 15-home project at the end of Church Road.

"By itself, I don't know if the project is going to change [the area] a lot, but it's the pattern that's gong to be set that worries me. We don't want this area to become another [place] full of cookie-cutter houses," Segal said.

The meeting was held under a new regulation that requires developers to meet with the community before submitting plans to the county.

While developers are not required to attend the meetings and can send representatives instead, community members were still miffed.

"We thought it was going to be a dialogue, not a dictation," Segal said.

The developer plans to submit a proposal for the three-home project within a month or so.

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