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Meeting next month on proposed Lawyers Hill development in Elkridge

The Howard County Planning Board will hold a public meeting next month on a proposal to build a 17-home subdivision in the nationally recognized Lawyers Hill Historic District in Elkridge.

The Sept. 5 meeting at 7 p.m. in the George Howard Building is a rollover of one that took place last week, where some residents who live nearby claimed the Lawyers Hill development would have a detrimental impact on flooding in the area.

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Kristy Mumma, who has lived in Elkridge for 16 years and whose property adjoins the land of the proposed development, testified at last week’s Planning Board meeting that the property would have a negative impact on the area. She said she has seen drainage and runoff during storms coming down the hill from another development contributing to flooding in her neighborhood.

Sang Oh, an attorney representing Don Reuwer, a developer with the project, objected to Mumma’s testimony, saying it widened the focus of the hearing to include stormwater management design, which, he argued, is not under the purview of the Planning Board. Vice chairwoman Erica Roberts agreed.

A technical staff report prepared by the Department of Planning and Zoning in June found stormwater management that will accompany the subdivision will meet or exceed the required environmental site design.

The historic district, located in Elkridge off Interstate 95, is known for its Victorian-era architecture and for once being a hub of prominent Baltimoreans.

The single-family homes of the proposed development are projected to be priced between $700,000 and $900,000, according to Reuwer.

The proposed development has seen fierce opposition from some who live nearby.

In June, Reuwer said in a statement that developers have “worked with and listened carefully to the community for over a year to create the best possible plan. Our plan meets the requirements of law and creates an opportunity for more people to be able to enjoy the beauty of this neighborhood.”

In June, the Department of Planning and Zoning recommended the Planning Board approve the proposal, pending potential conditions the board might attach.

Earlier this year, Reuwer went before the Historic Preservation Commission for input on the project. In April, the commission found that the “proposed new road and subdivision will ‘seriously impair’ the historic and architectural value of the Lawyers Hill Historic District and could lead to the removal of the District from the National Register of Historic Places and the loss of a rare and valuable cultural resource.”

If the Planning Board approves the proposal, the project will still need approval from the Historic Preservation Commission.

The subdivision is currently zoned for Elkridge Elementary and Elkridge Landing Middle schools. These designations could change as the Board of Education is set to redistrict the county’s schools by the end of this year.

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