Support grows for housing development

200 at meeting laud plan for Suburban Airport site

January 21, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

About 200 people turned out for an Anne Arundel County Council meeting last night to support the previously maligned plan to transform a west county airport into a housing development of condominiums and town homes.

In its preliminary proposal, Polm Cos. of Millersville calls for 641 units at Suburban Airport, a Laurel airstrip that is home to nearly 70 planes. Before Rick Polm can build the development, dubbed Riverwood, the county would need to rezone the land off Brock Bridge Road.

"This project is an outstanding example of what should be done to help the current housing crisis," Robert Johnston, a vice president with the Anne Arundel County Association of Realtors, told the council last night.

The county is in the final stages of implementing its small-area plan for that part of the county, and Polm Cos. officials want the council to amend the plan to allow the development. The plan was not on the agenda last night, but will be on Feb. 2, when a final decision on the airport is likely.

In two previous meetings, the County Council has given no indication that it would support Polm's proposal. At one of the meetings, more than 40 residents and pilots spoke against the plan.

But it has gathered some momentum of late.

Officials supporting Polm Cos. promote the development as "work force housing." Half the homes would be priced between $190,000 and $300,000, Polm has said.

John Pantelides, a consultant hired by Polm Cos., recently announced that the Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce supports the concept being pushed by Polm Cos. He also announced that the county's teachers union supports the plan.

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