Preliminary plans for 25-home development approved

23 1/2 -acre property is near state park in Elkridge area

October 15, 2006|by a sun reporter

The Planning Board has approved preliminary plans for a mini-subdivision near Patapsco Valley State Park in Elkridge.

The development - tentatively named Shadowbrook Downs - will include 25 homes, significant open space, a playground and pavilion. The roughly boot-shaped property is on the north side of Elibank Drive. Interstate 95 bounds the property to the south, and the state park is north of the proposed development.

Residents who live in the vicinity did not oppose the development, although they raised several issues during a hearing Thursday night.

Michael Thomasson, executive vice president of PCS Homes, said the houses would be two stories tall and have roughly 3,200 square feet. The price range is unknown because the county's housing allocation system will prevent construction for five years.

"Tremendous, if not extraordinary, efforts have been taken" by the company to protect and preserve the environment, said William E. Erskine, an attorney with the firm Reese & Carney LLC, who represented the developer.

The property comprises 23.5 acres. County regulations technically entitle the developer to construct 33 homes, but eight fewer will be built. And the amount of open space will be 68 percent of the property - almost 20 percent more than is required.

Two structures are on the property. One, the Elibank Worthington House, was built in 1878 and will be restored by the developer. The second, a cottage constructed in 1850, was described by the county as beyond repair and will be demolished.

Dale N. Schumacher, who said he owns two properties near Shadowbrook Downs, asked the Planning Board to table the developer's plans until more information is provided.

"I wish to congratulate the [Department of Planning and Zoning] and the developer," he said. "In general, I find this a thoughtful proposal. ... But good can be better, and additional information could clarify many issues."

He and other residents asked the board to consider having another entity in addition to the county to oversee the open space that will be permanently preserved on the property.

The residents' chief concern, though, is the treatment of sewage. They support the developer's plan to build a system that would pump sewage under I-95 and into other county lines. There is a possibility that the state could require a gravity system, which would affect a far greater area of the property and, residents fear, endanger the environment and drinking water.

Schumacher also urged Thomasson to reconsider naming the subdivision after someone who better represents the historical importance of the area. The developer said he was amenable to the suggestion.

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