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UNION BRIDGE - James L. Schumacher said annexation of the Phillips property should be conditional on developers providing a "well-balanced mix of commercial and residential construction."

The Planning and Zoning Commission met Tuesday to discuss the Stafford Management Group's plans for developing the 170-acre property along Route 75. Schumacher said the concept design looks good on the map but added the developer should show the town the project is economically feasible before the council agrees to annex it.

"The development has to pay its own way," he said. "We don't want to find out five years after annexation that it is not generating enough taxes. That would be disastrous."

John S. Newsome, owner of the Howard County construction company, plans to build about 500 houses on the site. About nine acres will be devoted to commercial projects. Newsome did not attend the session.

Joseph H. Kreimer, commission member, said he would like the site annexed because it would give the town more control.

"The nine business acres should grow well," said Kreimer. "We hope the developer will build the whole deal but at what point will he know his idea is going to work?"

The commission also discussed possible architectural controls on style and appearance. Town Attorney John Maguire said Union Bridge has no architectural ordinances.

"Now would be a good time to pass those controls," he said. "We could always revise them later."

The commission will meet again Jan. 3 before making its recommendations to the Town Council.

The town also plans a public hearing Jan. 10 to allow residents to comment on the annexation and proposed development.

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