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Waverly project could increase traffic tenfold


Traffic will increase tenfold if a planned commercial, residential and golfing village is built in Marriottsville, a traffic expert told the county Zoning Board last week.

Instead of the expected 1,800 trips from about 200 homes under current zoning, the Waverly Woods II project would generate 19,600 to 24,000 trips from 937 homes and 1.7 million square feet of office space, according to a traffic study presented by Wes Guckert, president of the Towson-based Traffic Group.

Guckert testified in the third day of a hearing on a petition by developer Donald R. Reuwer to change land zoned for 3-acre residential lots to a mix of commercial and higher-density residential development that will include an 18-hole public golf course.

Whether or not the project is approved, Guckert testified, similar road improvements will be needed over the 30 years it would take to build it.

If the project is approved, he said, the county's adequate facilities law will require the developers to pay for those improvements. On questioning by members of the County Council, who sit as the Zoning Board, he conceded that Interstate 70, which borders the 682-acre site to the south, would be exempt from that requirement.

Guckert prompted murmurs of disbelief from the crowd of about 80 when he put a positive face on the prospect of additional traffic in the neighborhood.

"You're making better utilization of your infrastructure by utilizing it," he said, comparing the road network with the new sewer lines that will make the project possible.

County Deputy Solicitor Paul Johnson, the board's attorney, questioned the lack of information in the petition on specific road improvements the developer would provide in various phases of the project.

Guckert said that because the county's adequate facilities law was being drafted as the study was conducted, it would be unreasonable to expect such specifics.

At least seven residents protesting the petition cross-examined Guckert during his 3 1/2 hours of testimony, attempting to discredit the methods and assumptions in his traffic study.

Susan Gray, a county growth-control advocate, questioned the assumption that a quarter of Waverly Woods II residents would also work there.

Guckert responded that other planned communities, such as Reston and Columbia, have large percentages of residents who work close to home. A Rouse Co. survey conducted in 1990 showed that 35 percent of Columbia's residents also work there.

"Is that applicable to a small parcel like this?" Gray asked.

"I don't have that information," Guckert responded.

The hearing will continue with the petitioners' school expert at 8 p.m. July 22 in the Banneker Room of the George Howard county office building in Ellicott City.

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