Rouse Co. appeals rejection of its plan to add homes in Columbia's Town Center

Subsidiary files appeal in Howard Circuit Court

April 08, 2004|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The Rouse Co. is appealing the Howard County Zoning Board's denial of its petition to add a significant number of residences to Columbia's downtown.

The company is seeking a judicial review of the board's unanimous rejection of the company's proposal to build 2,141 residences. About 1,600 of the homes were to be developed in Town Center, in the 60-acre, crescent-shaped property behind Symphony Woods.

Howard Research and Development Corp., a Rouse Co. subsidiary, filed the appeal March 31 in Howard Circuit Court.

The community was divided over the plan. Some residents hoped the homes would turn Town Center into an active urban core; others worried that the extra population would generate more crime, traffic and stress on the community's infrastructure.

In January, the Zoning Board denied the company's request. Some board members said they were not comfortable granting the additional residential units without a detailed comprehensive sketch plan, which was not required as part of the proposal. The board wants to review Columbia's New Town zoning regulations before allowing a major change to the town's center.

But the board did approve increasing density for Columbia's Oakland Mills village, allowing for construction of 96 apartments for seniors at Oakland Mills Village Center.

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