About 200 Timonium-area residents gathered Monday night in a lively session to press their county councilman to oppose a developer's plan to build 33 attached homes for people 55 and older along Pot Spring Road.
Members of the audience chanted "Say no, say no, say no," but 3rd District Councilman Todd Huff said he would not make any decisions Monday night about whether he would withdraw a resolution he submitted to the County Council on Jan. 3, the first of several steps needed to approve a so-called "planned unit development."
The developer, Jeffrey C. Kirby of J. Kirby Development LLC of Catonsville, is pursuing his project under the "PUD" process, which allows him to build more than the 13 houses that zoning allows. His proposal calls for a gated cluster of attached homes in one to one-and-a-half-story buildings with private roads on just over 10 acres of land.
Residents presented a list of 10 main objections to the project, including questions about traffic management, visitor parking, lack of details in the proposal and its high density. The residents also objected to the developer's plan to build on a portion of the land that lies in a conservation zone.
Kirby told the group that he does not believe there's a market for 13 single-family homes on the land, and he said he has not built such homes in the past. Kirby has specialized in building affordable housing and projects for people 55 and older, including Patapsco Overlook in Catonsville.
Huff heard a number of people in the crowd at Warren Elementary shout questions about why he submitted the PUD resolution before he met with residents.
"I thought you were behind us," someone shouted.
"I am, 100 percent," Huff said.
Huff said he thought submitting the proposal would focus discussion of the project but said he was willing to amend the resolution and was at the meeting to hear the neighbors' objections. The resolution is scheduled to be considered at a council work session on Feb. 1 and to be voted on Feb. 7. The council's vote would be the first of several steps to approving the project, including environmental review and public hearings.
"As a homeowner, I would rather have the 13 units, as the zoning allows, and forget the 55-plus," said Alex Hassani, stirring applause.
Huff said after the session that the size of the crowd surprised him but not the sentiments. He said "there will be changes made before Feb. 1," but he would not commit to any specifics. Asked whether withdrawing the proposal was still possible, he said he was "keeping an open mind."