The Baltimore County Council has given its unanimous approval for 182 market-rate town homes off Johnnycake Road in Windsor Mill.
Known as “Patapsco Fields,” the planned unit development, which will be built by the Lennar Corp., borders the districts represented by Councilmen Tom Quirk and Julian Jones.
Besides the backing of the council members, the project has general support in the community, including from Pastor Linwood Bethea, of Set the Captives Free Outreach Center in Windsor Mill, and Miko Baldwin, president of the Homeowners Association of the Parkview Trail Community in Windsor Mill.
The PUD, or a mixed-use development that may combine commercial, industrial, recreational and residential elements, which was discussed at a council work session in June, will be in close proximity to public transportation, recreation and schools and will include amenities like an active trail, a clubhouse, a dog park and a playground.
Quirk, who opened the discussion on the PUD, referenced letters of support from community members in both districts and emphasized the importance of meeting the demand for housing to correct the current jobs-to-housing imbalance.
“Especially with this pandemic, I do think it’s more important than ever to start getting jobs moving again,” he said during the session. “We have a limited supply of housing now, and more and more buyers are looking for homes and having trouble finding homes.”
Jones said he thinks the PUD will add value to the community.
“This issue has been going on for 18 months,” he said during the session. “We are at a place right now where this development will be a plus for the community and a plus for the overall economy and all the people who are going to get a much-needed boost after this [pandemic] has been putting [people] on the sidelines.”
Baldwin’s Parkview Trail Community is across the street from the PUD, and she wrote a letter to the council and gave testimony at the work session saying she supports any effort to better the area.
“We have never once, since I lived in the community, had anything for our children to do but a tennis court and they were banned from the tennis court,” she said in the session. “I approve any improvement that we are building for our future, and I think we need to put on paper that we are putting money back into the community and we are improving the area.”
While four community members spoke in support of the PUD, two opposed the plan.
Sarah Cox, also of the Parkview Trail Community, said she fears the PUD will increase traffic along Fairbrook, Johnnycake and Hollifield roads.
“We don’t need another 182 town homes on Johnnycake Road,” she said during the session.
Another Parkview Trail Community resident, Janet Anderson, also was opposed.
“We weren’t informed directly of any community input meeting by the developer,” she said in the session. “Had it not been for a neighbor who put a copy of the PUD on my door, I would not have known about this.”
A representative from Lennar didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Quirk said he believes the PUD will help strengthen the community.
“I think in this tough economic time we cannot be afraid of the council to say, ‘Yes, we support jobs, yes, we support investment, yes, we support more quality homes,’ because we need them,” he said. “We have to drive economic development, especially right at this pandemic when this economy is on its knees — we’ve got to get things moving again.”