Maple Lawn looks toward expansion

Next phase includes homes, office space

December 10, 2006|by a sun reporter

The next phase of the luxury planned community Maple Lawn, Maryland will include more than 220 homes and a significant expansion of space for commercial offices.

Many regulatory hurdles must be cleared before the expansion can begin, and it will be several years before the homes are constructed, but the developer is seeking county approval of an amended sketch plan that determines what can be built and where on the property.

The Planning Board deferred action on the request Thursday night after a lengthy public hearing, saying it needed time to consider the application and testimony, particularly from opponents.

"We've taken in a lot of information," said board member David Grabowski, who agreed that a delay until Jan. 8 was necessary.

No substantive obstacles to approval are apparent. The county cleared the way for expansion of Maple Lawn this year when it permitted the addition of almost 100 acres to the development, bringing the project to 605 acres.

Board Chairwoman Tammy J. CitaraManis said the additional acreage "will inherently increase population."

Some homeowners, most of whom live outside the development, expressed concerns about the increases in traffic and the number of residents the expansion would produce.

"You've definitely got a problem," said Guy M. Hawkins of Fulton.

Charles Kundar, who moved to Maple Lawn in January, told the board that Maple Lawn hasn't proved itself, and he questioned the need to approve the sketch plan now.

"We had no idea that they were going to increase density by 20 percent. ... If they keep adding on density, I don't want to live there," he said.

The plan by the developer, Greenebaum & Rose Associates, Inc., does not increase density or the number of housing units per acre. Density would remain 2.2 units per acre.

The plan would alter Maple Lawn by:

Increasing the number of acres restricted to residential units from 251 to 266.

Expanding permitted business uses from 77 acres to 122 acres. The square footage allowed would increase by 684,552, to 1.86 million square feet.

Increasing land reserved for open space from 179 acres to 217 acres.

Permitting 1,340 housing units, an increase of 224 units.

Maple Lawn follows the "old town," or traditional, concept. Homes are close together, and the development encourages pedestrian use and provides vast open spaces 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 separated from the homes but are within walking distance.

In a separate case also involving Maple Lawn, the Planning Board approved a site development plan for the construction of a warehouse in the main business district of the development. Although the structure is classified as a warehouse and will be used for storage, its appearance will be comparable to an office building.

The building is necessary to accommodate a company that has leased office space in Maple Lawn but needs a secured facility for documents, said Charlie O'Donovan, vice president of development for Greenebaum & Rose.

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