Residents pushed back against Fallston developer Michael Euler Sr.’s plans to build an 86-unit residential community next to his Aumar Village shopping center on Route 152, citing concerns such as adding to the already-heavy traffic flow, overcrowding in Fallston-area schools, potential harm to water quality and creating a nuisance for next-door neighbors.
“This is my back yard and my side yard,” said Kristen Maughan, who lives in the unit block of Mountain Road just north of the property slated for 26 single-family houses and 60 villa-style townhouses.
Maughan was one of more than 70 people who filled a meeting room at the Fallston Volunteer Fire and Ambulance Company for a community input meeting Tuesday evening.
Euler and Bob Capalongo, senior project manager with CNA Engineers in Forest Hill, presented a site plan for the community. The residential development, planned for an R2-zoned site, is also called Aumar Village and is north of the existing shopping center developed by Euler, with businesses such as Tractor Supply Co., Advance Auto Parts, McDonald’s, Texas Roadhouse and Earth Wood & Fire.
The shopping center and residential land are along Route 152 between its intersections with Route 1 and Harford Road. The main entrance to the subdivision would be off of Route 152 from the southbound lanes of the highway.
Euler has said previously that the dwellings, which include first-floor master bedrooms, are meant for the “step-down” market, or people who want to downsize from their larger former homes.
He emphasized the step-down concept during the community input meeting, although some attendees expressed concerns about the subdivision drawing families with young children, putting greater stress on area schools such as Youth’s Benefit Elementary and adding to vehicle traffic that is already heavy on the main highways.
“Every little kid in that neighborhood is going to be screaming and running around,” Maughan, who has lived in the area for 13 years, told Euler. “I’m going to have to put up a 6-foot fence, [but] you’ll probably talk to some county [official] and deny me the ability to put up a fence, because I don’t trust any word that comes out of your mouth.”
Maughan said she spends most of her time in her back yard “because my front yard sucks, because of all the traffic on 152.”
“These roadways are jammed in the morning,” said Robert McArtor, an area Realtor who lives in the Rochelle Meadows community. “As a citizen of Fallston, I’m very much concerned with that,”
Euler must commission a traffic study to determine how the project will affect surrounding roads and intersections, and McArtor asked Capalongo and Euler for a commitment to have another open meeting — in addition to the public community input meeting and the county’s Development Advisory Committee hearing required by law — once he gets the results of the study back.
McArtor noted a number of other residential developments happening or being planned in Fallston such as the 56-unit Bensons Corner apartment complex proposed for the intersection of Harford Road and the Bel Air Bypass.
Euler is also developing the two-phase, 86-unit Hamilton Reserve community along Harford Road near the intersection with Connolly Road.
McArtor said developers are trying to “push it up into that Harford Road threshold as much as possible.”
“It’s making life miserable for everyone else in the Fallston area,” he said, drawing applause.
Euler said several times during the meeting, which lasted about two hours, that he is willing to hold additional meetings once he gets the traffic study back and before plans are presented to county and state agency representatives on the Development Advisory Committee.
“I will meet again,” he told audience members. “I will meet as many times as you want.”
Fallston resident Wade Sewell asked Euler what traffic improvements he had to make as he builds out Hamilton Reserve. Euler listed a handful of improvements — Capalongo noted such improvements are funded by developers — such as adding a center-turn lane at Route 1 and Milton Avenue, extending the length of the left-turn lane from Route 152 onto Harford Road, and contributing money toward the state’s installation of a traffic signal at Connolly and Harford roads.
“We all know how horrendous traffic is on 152 in the morning and the nighttime,” Sewell said. “How could this traffic study possibly come back and allow you to build any homes here without doing massive improvements to the intersection?”
Sewell asked Euler, if the traffic study shows he must make $1.5 million worth of improvements for Aumar Village, “does that kill your project?”
“When the traffic study comes back, I will hold a meeting — after that study, before the DAC — and we can go over that then, because right now….” Euler replied.
“It’s conjecture, I get it,” Sewell said.