Oella Mill conversion is Smart Growth The clatter of...

Letters to the editor

August 25, 2002

Oella Mill conversion is Smart Growth

The clatter of looms no longer echoes through the Patapsco Valley at Oella. A different sound is heard as some newer residents in the community fight the sale of the old mill property for restoration and conversion into upscale loft apartments ("Altering area's fabric," July 29).

The project has passed through the labyrinth of government agencies and earned the approval of the zoning commissioner after an extensive public hearing and expert testimony. But the project is historic preservation, Smart Growth, and in-fill development all wrapped into one. It is a far less intensive use of the property than the offices, stores or auto repair shops that could be placed on it.

And, obviously, the apartment complex would generate less traffic than those uses would, or than the property did in its previous life as a thriving textile plant.

Property owners living in the immediate area around the mill recognize that the $28 million in planned improvements will restore the historic structure and improve quality of life and property values. They are members of the Oella Homeowners Association, who voted overwhelmingly on June 5 in favor of the project.

These are the people most directly affected. But their views are often drowned out by the more strident voices of the dissidents.

Charles L. Wagandt

Ellicott City

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