MDE seeks details on proposal for road

Turf Valley developers must respond next month

Ellicott City

April 06, 2004|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,SUN STAFF

State environmental officials are withholding approval of a new road critical to building hundreds of homes at Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City until owners provide the agency with additional details, including development plans for the 800-acre parcel.

Mangione Family Enterprises, which owns and operates Turf Valley, has applied for permission to construct the proposed "Resort Road" through wetlands in the western part of the property and across the Little Patuxent River, ultimately connecting to Marriottsville Road.

The Maryland Department of the Environment has given Mangione Family Enterprises until early next month to respond to seven requests or the permit application will be considered withdrawn, according to a March 26 letter.

Turf Valley is Howard County's only planned golf course community district, approved by the County Council in 1986. Of the more than 1,400 homes approved at that time, about 150 have been built, all on property east of Turf Valley Road.

For development of the western half of the property to begin, access from Marriottsville Road is critical.

"There's got to be a road," said Lou Mangione, vice president for development, after a public hearing in February. "The whole project has to have the road."

MDE listed seven comments based on the permit application, including potential problems with the proposed road's alignment with Albeth Road on the west side of Marriottsville Road.

Wetlands officials also asked that the applicant review the possibility of accessing U.S. 40 rather than Marriottsville Road.

But Turf Valley representatives have said that State Highway Administration officials frowned upon adding another road connection to U.S. 40. Given traffic flow on U.S. 40 and safety concerns, "we encouraged them to consider access on Marriottsville Road," said SHA spokesman Dave Buck.

In addition, MDE officials requested:

An updated traffic analysis to justify the need for a four-lane road.

Documentation of pesticide and herbicide use on the course.

An analysis of potential pollution from Alpha Ridge landfill.

A complete proposal for mitigating any other impacts to environmental resources.

Mangione Family Enterprises had also applied during Howard's recent comprehensive rezoning process to increase the housing density allowed at Turf Valley. County Council members postponed their decision on the request until the fall for additional study.

A committee studying the impact of increased density on traffic, schools and the environment will meet April 13.

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