Residents block effort to build on woodland

Annapolis Roads group to buy parcel, preserve it

Anne Arundel

February 15, 2005|By Childs Walker | Childs Walker,SUN STAFF

Annapolis Roads homeowners have apparently stymied a developer's hopes to build houses on a wooded section of their tranquil waterfront community by striking a deal to buy and preserve the property.

The Annapolis Roads Property Owners Association moved last week to buy the 33-acre parcel, known as the Ogleton Woods property. The prospective developer, Ribera Development LLC of Annapolis, had an option on the property and planned to build an undetermined number of homes on the land.

Neighbors are still battling Ribera's efforts to buy the adjacent 78 acres that are home to the Annapolis Golf Club and build homes and athletic facilities for St. Mary's High School there.

Richard M. Lerner, chairman of BankAnnapolis and the primary owner of the Ogleton Woods property, said he was pleased that neighbors made a competitive offer on the 33-acre tract.

"As president of a community bank, I am sensitive to the wishes of the community, and I am glad that we were able to work out a solution that benefits all parties," Lerner said.

"I congratulate the community of Annapolis Roads for stepping up and taking control of its own destiny. From my perspective, this is an ideal outcome for everyone," he said.

Ribera's president, John Stamato, also commended neighbors.

"This is the way a community association should protect open space," he said. "It reduces the number of houses, which is obviously a good thing for the community."

Stamato said his company is working to acquire the golf club and probably would not take any action for at least two months. He said the neighbors' purchase of Ogleton Woods could change his company's planned configuration for the athletic fields and homes slated for the 78 adjacent acres.

Stamato has said building athletic facilities, including lacrosse fields and a basketball gym for St. Mary's, was always his chief goal.

The nine-hole, public Annapolis Golf Club is owned by George Grace, who last year optioned the land to Stamato.

That stirred immediate opposition in the Annapolis Roads association, which represents about 300 households.

Neighbors mobilized to block the Ribera plan, which they said would ruin the peace and quiet they cherish. They wrote letters to county leaders and immediately began raising money to make a competitive bid on the land.

Association representatives could not be reached for comment late yesterday.

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