Concerned about the prospect of 25 homes on an 8-acre site outside Westminster, residents are lobbying City Hall to prevent development of the property.
About 50 people - mostly residents of Chase and Bond streets, Ridgeview Drive and Ridge Road - showed up at the Common Council's meeting Monday to raise concerns about a local company's proposal to develop the so-called Arnold property into a subdivision.
"It's going to add more traffic volume to already swollen roads," said Thomas C. Bethune, a Westmoreland Street resident who lives a block from the parcel.
"Look at the impact this is going to have on public safety. The state should think about converting that area into a park and community center instead of shoving 25 families in the middle of an already congested area."
Located next to the city's King Park, the property, which contains a single-family home, was owned by Naomi Arnold until her death last year. The property is in the hands of her daughter Barbara Houck, who, according to city officials, is negotiating a sale with Eastern Seaboard Financial.
Eastern Seaboard Financial, a company that specializes in loan programs and credit counseling, has proposed building 25 single-family homes on the property - according to plans displayed in its West Main Street office window. However, the company has not filed plans. President Joseph Leipscopo did not return phone calls yesterday.
To develop the property with that many houses would require connection to Westminster's public water and sewer systems. The city requires water and sewer customers to be within city limits, so the owner would have to apply for annexation, city officials said.
Thomas B. Beyard, director of planning and public works, said the city has not received an annexation application, and told residents the approval process would take at least six months and would include public meetings.
The property is eligible for annexation because two sides of the tract are contiguous to city borders.
Mayor Kevin E. Dayhoff suggested an alternative. He said the city could seek Program Open Space funding and private donations to buy the property and extend it as part of King Park or as a separate park.
If the property becomes available again, the city would make an offer to Houck, Councilman L. Gregory Pecoraro said.