Appeal aims to slow Turf Valley expansion

June 02, 2006|BY A SUN STAFF REPORTER

In the never-ending tug-of-war over Turf Valley, another appeal has been filed in hopes of slowing, if not halting, expansion of the planned community.

The latest appeal is of a state permit affecting less than an acre of nontidal wetlands.

It was filed Tuesday, four days after an appeal and lawsuit were filed challenging the county's approval of plans to enlarge Turf Valley by 119 acres and construct an additional 267 housing units.

The Maryland Department of the Environment issued the wetlands permit, almost a year after holding hearings on the matter in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers.

The permit was sought for road improvements and installation of underground utility lines. The state said that "substantial" measures have been incorporated into the plans to minimize the disturbance to the wetlands.

Turf Valley is an 800-acre planned community on the western edge of Ellicott City with two 18-hole golf courses, a hotel, resort center and homes. The developer, Mangione Family Enterprises, plans additional housing and commercial uses.

Marc Norman, a resident of Turf Valley who opposes its expansion, filed the appeal to MDE's issuance of the permit.

He said the state should have analyzed the property for water contamination, primarily from chemicals used to treat and maintain the golf courses. He said the areas tested did not include former and current chemical storage sites.

"They have not thoroughly tested for that," Norman said. "They're not even close to scratching the surface.

"We expect more of MDE. ... They granted a certification without properly analyzing the water and chemical issues."

The state said those issues are outside the review of the permit application. It noted that an environmental study commissioned by Mangione found the property to be suitable for development.

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