Planning board consideration of Savage residential development to continue

Planning board consideration of Savage residential development to continue

Howard County's planning board will continue considering a 35-unit project near Savage Park on June 15 after several residents opposed the plan at the board's Thursday night meeting.

Residents argued the Settlement at Savage Mill unsettles the environmentally sensitive areas of the land while the project's petitioner contended the plan, the first in the county assigned to zoning designed to protect environmental resources, shifts the development far from the Little Patuxent River.

Peter Stone, a landscape architect with Pennoni Associates, a consulting firm, said the developer exceeded county requirements by creating a 370-foot buffer between the river and the closest structure, well above the 250-foot buffer required by the county.

The county is considering swapping 2.73 acres of parkland, already razed for sewer construction, for 2.77 acres of the developer's land to allow the development to minimize disturbance to the area. If approved by the Howard County Council, state and federal officials will review the proposed land swap.

Bozzuto Homes plans six single-family houses, 12 duplexes, 17 townhouses and five open-space lots on around eight acres of land.

The board shot down four attempts by representatives of the Savage Community Association to delay or dismiss the case.

Susan Garber, the association's president, argued the board's consideration was "premature" because she said the county's historic preservation commission did not formally decide on the case, a map did not correctly identify a land parcel and the board's rules did not clearly establish the board's authority to handle the case.

But the planning board indicated the arguments could be addressed as the proposal continues the development process and were irrelevant to the case, which the board has full judicial authority to review.

By county requirements, the board is limited to deciding the case based on whether or not the layout protects environmental and historical resources, buffers properly from existing areas and ensures site features take advantage of the land's topography and limit clearing and grading.

The board will continue hearing the case on June 15 at 7 p.m. in the George Howard building.

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