There is no commercial development planned for Maple Lawn South, Murn said.

Despite the plan to include townhouses and single-family homes in the development, Fulton resident Chris Bloor said there is no guarantee that the development will look as it is proposed.

"There's no promise of anything on that plan," he said. "Once you have R-A-15, in my mind, it makes no sense to put single family homes there. The profit just isn't there."

Residents are concerned that the influx of new homes in Maple Lawn South and what is still left to be built in the original Maple Lawn development will force the Howard County Public School System to redistrict area students.

"Parents on these PTAs have invested the time in making (the schools) the best they can be and now they may find all of that effort pushed to the wayside," Regner said

The three schools across Route 216 from the proposed development — Fulton Elementary, Lime Kiln Middle and Reservoir High — are all operating under capacity, according to the school system's March enrollment figures.

A case of favoritism?

Attorney Katherine Taylor, who represents Smart Fulton Growth, said she was "quite surprised" when she first read the county's recommendation of R-A-15 zoning from rural residential.

"That's quite a significant difference in the number of units you can put on a parcel," she said.

Under the current zoning, Iager could only build one home for every three acres.

Murn said R-A-15 was requested for the Maple Lawn South because it is the only zoning that allows for apartments, single-family homes and townhouses.

Opponents to the rezoning proposal, like Fulton resident Paul Spelman, have pointed to the Maple Lawn water tower as evidence that the R-A-15 zoning is being considered as a favor to Iager.

Holding a copy of the deed to the three acres where the water tower stands, Spelman points to the third paragraph that states "in consideration of zero dollars" the county would acquire the land from Maple Lawn Farms Inc. in 2006.

"Certain things of this smack of favoritism," Spelman said.

Opponents also question why this 91-acre property, one of three properties brought into the Planned Service Area through PlanHoward 2030 last year, is the only one the Department of Planning and Zoning has recommended for R-A-15 zoning.

Taylor said the R-A-15 zoning is inconsistent with the property's recent designation in the PSA.

PlanHoward 2030 states that the three properties brought into the Planned Service Area were done so because of their location in the rural residential zone and the planned service area. The general plan states that they should be designed and zoned to establish a transition that is compatible with and enhances surrounding communities.

The three properties brought into the PSA should also "create an environmental benefit through environmental site design that mitigates impervious surfaces so that storm water will be captured on site and not affect nearby waterways," according to PlanHoward 2030.

"High density is typically less environmentally friendly," Taylor said.

Erskine said Maple Lawn South will be built to the highest stormwater standard because of Plan Maryland, the state's growth and development plan, enacted in 2011.

He estimated that Maple Lawn South will have "several hundred to 1,000" rain gardens to meet environmental regulations.

Erskine added that these environmental regulations will dictate how many units are built.

Erskine said what makes Maple Lawn South unique from the other two properties brought into the PSA is the infrastructure already in place.

He cites the nearby schools across the street, the Maple Lawn commercial district and the nearby commuter park and ride as reasons the proposed zoning is appropriate.

"It's not zoning for today, it's planning for the future," Erskine said.

A community meeting on the proposed Maple Lawn South is planned for May 7 at 7 p.m. at Erskine's office, 8171 Maple Lawn Boulevard, Suite 200.