Howard Board of Appeals to hear Turf Valley dispute Tuesday

Residents oppose two proposed apartment buildings, citing traffic, building placement concerns

August 25, 2011|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

Neighbors fighting against new apartment buildings at the Turf Valley development in Ellicott City are hoping for another shot at stopping the project, which is scheduled to go before a county appeals board Tuesday.

A group of opponents led by nearby resident Marc Norman is challenging a planning board decision to approve two apartment buildings near two existing housing developments. Norman said the new properties will be placed too close to existing homes and will increase traffic on residential streets.

The apartments are part of a broad redevelopment plan by owners of Turf Valley that would add more than 1,300 new homes, plus offices and stores, to the 809-acre hotel and golf course property. The developer, Mangione Family Enterprises, has added to the plan since it got basic county approval 25 years ago, and parts of it have been tied up in a series of neighborhood challenges.

Norman and his group, Howard County Citizens for Open Government, believe the appeals board should reject the apartment development. He says planners did not have enough information when it approved the project.

Norman said his case contains significant community testimony and exhibits that show the project does not comply with zoning guidelines, and that it should not go forward as it has been proposed

"The planning board had no knowledge that the project was not compliant" with county zoning, he said.

Sang Oh, attorney for the developer, has asked the appeals board to throw out the challenge. He was not available to comment on this story.

The basic zoning for development situated between Interstate 70 and U.S. 40 was approved in 1986. A supermarket and more houses have become part of the plan over time.

Earlier this year, Norman and his fellow opponents lost a battle against the proposed shopping center. The 4th U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., upheld an earlier U.S. District Court dismissal in a case involving another resident's effort to bring the issue to a county referendum vote.

That decision will go before the state Court of Special Appeals on Sept. 8.

The county appeals board will meet at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday in the George Howard Building in Ellicott City.

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