After reading the article in The Howard County Sun on Nov. 27, I canunderstand why many communities are upset with the Route 100 proposal Hunt Country Estates residents submitted to the State Highway Administration. Being a resident of Hunt Country Estates and being involved with this proposal, I feel the article does not fully address what was intended. The map in the article was extremely vague, and the underlying issues of this proposal were not mentioned.
The southern shift proposal is an attempt to provide the community with an "all-win" alternative. Hunt Country residents are not out to get even with the residents of Montgomery Run, Ashton Woods or the other residents along Route 108, regardless of the actions of (developer Lawrence) Macks, SHA and the County Council that took place in 1985, 1987 and the current round.
My particular concern is with respect to the movement of Deep RunCreek and the environmental impact on wetlands. Deep Run is one of the few remaining virgin streams in eastern Howard County.
Granted,any construction of Route 100 will have an impact somewhere, since the initial planning with respect to our communities and the wetlands was not completely looked at by the officials responsible for this project. It has been this community's experience that going against past proposals has had very few positive results. However, providing alternatives raises eyebrows, resulting in new evaluations.
Our proposal would minimize the wetland impacts yet still provide service for the community at large. Otherwise, we would be forced to accept the current proposed alignment by the SHA, placing Route 100 through two homes in Hunt Country Estates, destroying the wetlands, and providing no solution to the future of Snowden River Parkway without destroyingadditional wetlands and more homes.
Bear in mind that the southern proposal is a concept and not an accurate alignment. The proposed southern shift would accomplish the following:
* Provide a safe access for the communities of Montgomery Run, Ashton, Woods and future buildings between those communities and Route 103. The proposed accessroad would be built on dry land where Route 100 is currently plannedand could also provide access to Route 100 via ramps off the access road. This plan calls for a controlled intersection at routes 108, 104 and 100.
* Provide a connection to the future Snowden River Parkway on dry land. The current plan connects Route 100 and Snowden River Parkway in the wetlands. The southern proposal allows additional access that will allow development on lands between the southern alignment and the wetlands.
* Minimize wetland impact on Deep Run Creek to one bridge that would cross at the vicinity of Old Montgomery Road. This would give wildlife passage along Deep Run, allowing all communities in the area to enjoy what little is left. If Deep Run is modified according to the current plan and becomes a straight stream alongRoute 100, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department feels certain Old Montgomery Road will wash out from accelerated water flow.
* Allow SHA to build Route 100 with minimal impact to traffic flow on the existing roads. Traffic detours will exist at routes 108 and 104, regardlessof which alignment occurs.
* Provide the Village of Montgomery Run additional open space in a wetland area. If the SHA does not use the northern boundary of Montgomery Run for highway use, it would be turned over to the developer or the condominium asso
ciation, whichever is the current owner.
The negative aspects to this proposal are:
* Some residents in Montgomery Run and Ashton Woods will win and some will lose. If Route 100 is built, some folks will have a highway outside their windows. This proposal only shifts those that will be affected.
* More residents will lose their homes. The southern proposal will result in most single residents along Route 108 losing.
However, Route 108 will eventually be widened due to the interaction of Route 100 with routes 108 and 104, according to the environmental impact study for this project. Continual growth in the area will reduce their lawns for widening Route 108. This proposal cuts the losses now. The Curtis farm, Montgomery Run's southern neighbor, would bebisected, which may be the worst impact of this proposal.
* It will cost more to build Route 100. Additional expenses will be incurredto build the access road and an additional bridge for the access. Inthe long run, this proposal may cost less due to environmental impact, including a potential rebuild of Old Montgomery Road bridge from flooding from stream realignment.
* The county will have difficultyrezoning and putting the Curtis property and University of Maryland horse farm into mixed use. The rezoning will be part of 1992 growth plan.
The current plan for Route 100 alignment calls for a 166-footright of way. Typically, a highway of this magnitude is provided with 300 feet. The amount needed is 142 feet, plus room on each side as required for silence barriers and grading to the existing contour.
If this is sufficient room for a six-lane highway, as currently proposed, then there is enough room between Montgomery Run/Ashton Woods and Route 108 without any buildings being condemned in those communities. This was part of the basis for the southern proposal.
Our community has continuously been overlooked when voicing concerns about Route 100. At present, the wetlands dilemma has given more emphasis to concerns we had many year ago.
It seems amazing how much attentioncan evolve from a residents' proposal for county development and howpublic one's proposal can become.
Yet, at the same time residentscannot get information with respect to what county and state officials along with developers and the Howard County Council plan for theircommunities.
(Robert Gardner lives on Hunting Horn Drive in Ellicott City.)