Maple Lawn development advances

Project's next phase to include 75 more housing units and four office buildings

October 29, 2006|BY A SUN REPORTER

The next phase of the luxury planned community Maple Lawn, Maryland has been approved, clearing the way for 75 additional housing units and four office buildings. In less than two years, the development near Fulton has been transformed from a place where there were only workmen, steel pillars and house frames into a minitown, with residents, retail shops and other businesses.

The continuation of that evolution was assured Thursday night when the Planning Board, in three unanimous votes, approved sites developments plans for:

Forty townhouses, to be constructed on 2.52 acres by Miller and Smith, a McLean, Va.-based builder.

A three-story medical office building and three, two-story commercial buildings.

Thirty-five attached homes, which will be constructed on 2.18 acres by Mitchell & Best of Rockville.

The roughly 700-acre Maple Lawn is designed after the so-called "old town," or traditional, concept of the early 20th century. Homes are close together, and the development encourages pedestrian use and provides vast open space and parks, playing fields, walking and bicycle paths, a community center, swimming pool and tennis courts to bring residents together. Clusters of office and retail development are away from the homes but within walking distance.

Greenebaum and Rose Associates Inc., based in Pikesville, is the owner and developer of Maple Lawn.

The medical office building approved last week will be 54 feet high with 38,793 square feet. But Charlie O'Donovan, vice president of development for Greenebaum and Rose, said that part of the first floor might be leased for retail. The three other office buildings will vary in size, but combined will offer 68,289 square feet.

In keeping with the overall design of Maple Lawn, all four buildings will be directly off sidewalks, with parking in the rear. The company will provide enhanced landscaping, street trees and lighting to promote pedestrian traffic, the Department of Planning and Zoning said.

Although different builders will construct the residential units, they will be in the same section of Maple Lawn.

When completed, Maple Lawn will have 1,344 homes, about 1.6 million square feet in office space and 182,000 square feet of retail.

Greenebaum and Rose has sought higher density, but there has been opposition from residents in the area. It is expected, though, that at some point the company will renew its efforts to obtain authority to build more homes than are permitted now.

Maple Lawn is one of the developments earmarked by the county for higher density, in part to prevent sprawl and protect agricultural property in western Howard County. Among the others are Turf Valley, Waverly Woods and Emerson. And there is a preliminary proposal to rezone parts of downtown Columbia to permit construction of 5,500 housing units.

"The whole idea with Maple Lawn is that we dethrone the automobile, and it becomes pedestrian-oriented," Michael I. Greenebaum, a vice president with the firm, said two years ago when the first structures were under construction.

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