Plan for Owings Mills parcel adds school

March 23, 2009|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,

The number of residences proposed to be built on the last large parcel of developable land in Owings Mills has decreased by more than 100 now that Baltimore County has requested an elementary school site on the property.

Plans for Plinlimmon Farms had included 330 townhouses, 430 condominiums and a retail and office complex on 104 acres along Lyons Mill Road near Lyonswood Drive in New Town. The same parcel had been zoned for 430 detached homes.

The County Council approved the project as a planned-unit development about 18 months ago, eliminating some zoning requirements. The townhouse project was set to go to the county Planning Board until officials determined that the additional residential units would require a new elementary school to ease already crowded classrooms in the surrounding schools, said Arnold F. "Pat" Keller III, county planning director.

"Once we saw the project and the site, we knew we needed a new school," Keller said. "We told the developer 'you're it' for the school. That took a number of the initial units off the table."

The planned-unit development with fewer units will likely come before the county Planning Board for a review late next month.

Keller said the project could not proceed "without a high level of certainty that a school site would work on the property." After a review of a nearly 20-acre portion of the property, planners think the school site will work, he said.

Developer Steve Weinstein is amenable to the changes, said Robert Hoffman, Weinstein's attorney.

"The plan means less houses, but we have made the modifications and redesigned the public space for a school," Hoffman said.

The number of townhouses and condos will likely be about 620 rather than the planned 760, Keller said.

Weinstein's planned-unit development proposal drew criticism from some neighbors and the surrounding business community. Members of the Owings Mills Corporate Roundtable have called for more single-family housing and voiced concerns about traffic congestion, crowded schools and property values.

"We took those comments to mean the business community is here to stay and wants the area to look as nice as possible," Keller said. "The criticisms have led to upgrades in the project."

The townhouses will be 20 feet wide, many with garages and all with upgraded exteriors, alternating with brick, stone and siding, according to the proposal.

In addition to the school, the development will include a recreation site, road connections and a pool and community center in a historic farmhouse on the property, Hoffman said. The developer has consulted the county Landmarks Preservation Commission to make sure the new architecture is compatible with that of the 19th-century log house, he said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.