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Opponents hope to pack Woodlot rezoning hearing Higher density sought for 65-acre parcel


The Citizens for Preserving the Harper's Choice Woodlands hope to pack a county Planning Board meeting Tuesday to oppose a plan to put more houses on less land.

Woodlot Enterprises Inc. has asked that 65 acres of land zoned for three-acre residential lots be rezoned to accommodate 32 town homes and 95 detached houses on quarter-acre and fifth-acre lots. The land is known as the Carroll Property, after the family who owns it and has a contract to sell it to Woodlot if the change is approved.

The Planning Board will recommend a decision to the county Zoning Board, which will hold its own hearings and make the final decision.

About 400 residents of the neighboring Swansfield, Hobbit's Glen and Clary's Forest communities have signed a petition against the plan.

Helen Sutusky, a member of the group's steering committee and a Swansfield resident, estimated that half of the Swansfield Elementary School children walk to school, and she feared traffic from a more densely populated development would make that (( trip more dangerous.

Sutusky mentioned an accident that killed one child on Little Patuxent Parkway in February, and another that injured a child on Cedar Lane last fall.

The group is also concerned about the property's wildlife in the wake of wholesale clearing of its trees. Sutusky said she has seen foxes and deer on the property, which is adjacent to the Middle Patuxent Environmental Area.

However, the developer argues that the Zoning Board made a mistake in 1985 when it zoned the land for three-acre rural lots, leaving the parcel sandwiched between higher-density lots, including town houses.

The land was left with the "Rural" designation long after the Rouse Co. bought the surrounding land and had it zoned to allow a mix of residential uses.

"The surrounding zoning uses have created a modern suburban city environment surrounding this isolated agricultural out parcel; continuation of the existing R-zoning is totally out of character with all adjacent uses," the developer said in the petition for rezoning.

The Planning Board will hear testimony at its 9:30 a.m. meeting Tuesday in the Ellicott Room of the George Howard building in Ellicott City.

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