Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

January 25, 2004

More support urged for RiverWood plans

The Anne Arundel County Council will hold a very important vote on Feb. 2 to determine the future of the Suburban Airport located in western Anne Arundel County.

Presently, this 55-year-old, 54-acre site is underutilized as a private airport and is in competition with the county-owned and heavily subsidized (approximately $300,000 annually) Tipton Airport at Fort Meade.

Rick Polm, a longtime county resident, builder and developer, has proposed a "visionary plan" for this property to be named RiverWood that is a "win-win" situation for all involved. As proposed, RiverWood would be an "upscale" planned community of 641 townhomes and condos with nine interior parks, complete recreation facilities, three "greenway" entrances into the community and would not require any county maintenance. Homes would be priced between $250,000 and $335,000.

Area schools are under capacity at all levels and the "infra-structure" is in place for development. This project would generate a minimum of $2.3 million annually in property taxes.

In addition, Rick Polm has agreed to fix at his expense a dangerous and flood-prone section of Brock Bridge Road. The estimated cost to fix this county-owned road is approximately $3 million to $5 million.

But there is more to RiverWood than an upscale planned community. Rick Polm has committed to our [County] Council that 50 percent of the units would qualify as "workforce" housing.

"Workforce" housing is a concept whereby homes are constructed to be affordable based on the county's median income of approximately $68,000. The median income is the "halfway" point meaning that 50 percent of residents will have an annual family income above $68,000 and 50 percent will be below.

Our council is currently discussing legislation that would require 10 percent of any subdivision to meet the "workforce housing" criteria. Workforce housing means that teachers, police officers, firemen, county employees and other residents will have an opportunity to buy a home in Anne Arundel County. The average cost of a home in Anne Arundel County in December was $313,000.

RiverWood will not and cannot happen without the support of our County Council, which controls the zoning classification. Presently zoned R-1 this property needs to be "up-zoned" to R-15 to work economically. This project is a financial winner, socially responsible, aesthetically appealing and environmentally sound. Let's help to continue making Anne Arundel County one of the finest places anywhere to live, work and play.

Tony DeSanctis


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