A preliminary sketch plan to convert almost 18 acres on the old Hogg estate in Ellicott City into a 22-unit, high-end subdivision would preserve the historic Hogg home, built in 1912, and the long, tree-lined road that approaches the house on the east side of College Avenue, developers say.
The project would be on a 17.98-acre property on the east side of College Avenue. Sheppard Pratt at Ellicott City is on adjoining land to the south.
Almost 12 acres would be devoted to open space, 9 acres of which would be dedicated to the county.
Property owners would be strictly limited in the ways they could use their land, said the developer, Donald R. Reuwer Jr., president of Land Design & Development Inc.
The Hogg family is prepared to plant twice the required number of trees and shrubs to provide a stronger buffer, he said.
Construction could begin in about 18 months, the developer said. Each home would be custom-designed and would reflect the architecture of the historic house. Prices probably would begin at more than $700,000.
The Hogg family is "very interested in how the property turns out" and insistent that the sensitive environment be protected, Reuwer, the representative of the family, told members of the Howard County Planning Board last week.
The backs of seven homes facing College Avenue would have "dual facades," Reuwer said, so that they mirror the fronts to avoid a possible eyesore as seen from the road.
The plan, which complied with county regulations, met with some opposition at a meeting Thursday during which the Planning Board approved it on a 4-0 vote.
"Most of the houses in that area are on bigger lots," said Sharon J. McCormick, who lives on College Avenue, across the street from the proposed subdivision. "Scrunching 22 houses on a relative small area will really do away with the pattern that has helped make College Avenue a scenic road."
She said she is also concerned about traffic, noting the frequent accidents and fatalities on College Avenue. Adding traffic, she said, would be "very dangerous, and I'm sure there will be more accidents."
M. Lucille Kinlein of Hyattsville said, "I was born in that historic house 84 years ago ... and I've watched over those 84 years the encroaching commercialism that took away from Ellicott City what was its attraction for so many years.
"I predict that the traffic pattern will become invincible. ... There is something that portends disaster in the traffic, no matter how many attempts are made to keep it from becoming congested."
The board's vote approving the plan included several stipulations, all of them accepted by the developer, including the board's retaining the right to approve the final sketch plan.