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Planners to consider mixed-use zoning for Waverly


Zoning Board Chairman C. Vernon Gray directed the Planning Department last week to assess the design of Waverly Woods II from a mixed-use perspective.

Susan Gray, an attorney opposed to the proposed residential, commercial and golfing village east of the county landfill between Route 99 and Interstate 70, objected.

"I don't know if it's relevant," she said following Wednesday night's Zoning Board hearing.

Ronald L. Spahn, attorney for developer Donald R. Reuwer Jr., did not object to the Zoning Board chairman's request, but said he would like to think about it between now and Sept. 2, when the hearings resume.

Attorneys' objections can't prevent Mr. Gray's request, but merely become a part of the case record.

Mixed-use is a new and still undefined zoning designation proposed in the county's 1990 General Plan for the Waverly property and several other sites.

Its purpose is to group civic buildings in a business district with apartments above shops and other residences.

When Mr. Reuwer first announced plans for the village last year, he said the mixed use for Waverly Woods II is "infinitely less" intensive than the General Plan proposal.

The plans envision building 937 residential units on 302 acres, a village center and business portion on 372 acres, and an 18-hole public golf course that would wind around the homes and businesses.

The land is owned by GTW Joint Ventures, a partnership among Erwin Gudelsky, Irwin Taylor and Kennard Warfield.

Mr. Gray suggested that the design was not intensive enough, and that mixed use means putting residences and business within walking distance of each other.

Jean Iampieri Quattlebaum, president of Citizens Allied for Rational Expansion, a group of residents opposed to the development, said her concern about Mr. Gray's request is that "there is no definition in the county record as what a mixed use really is."

County planners have been working for more than a year to refine the mixed-use concept, but have yet to report their findings.

However, the Planing Department endorsed Mr. Reuwer's design as an acceptable mixed use.

The Planning Board also recommended by a 3-2 vote in March that the Zoning Board approve the Waverly plans.

One of the dissenters, former chairwoman Helen E. Ruther, said the project was premature because criteria for mixed-use centers have yet to be adopted.

K? Since the Planning Department now appears close to adopting

those criteria, Mr. Gray wants county planners to take another look at Mr. Reuwer's proposal in light of them.

Proponents of the proposed development are still presenting their case to the Zoning Board.

They contend the Zoning Board made a mistake in 1985 when it zoned the property rural -- one house per 3 acres -- instead of the mix of a planned employment center and residential uses called for in the 1982 General Plan.

They also contend that the character of the neighborhood has changed enough to warrant the variety of zoning uses needed to build what could become the county's largest village outside of Columbia.

In order to win a zoning change between comprehensive rezonings, a petitioner must prove the Zoning Board made a mistake or show that the character of the neighborhood has substantially changed.

Thursday night's four-hour hearing was taken up mostly with cross-examination of two witnesses by Waverly opponents.

Joseph Cronyn, senior associate of the Legg Mason Realty Group Inc., was questioned about his earlier testimony that the county would net more than $300 million from the Waverly project over the next 30 years. That testimony was based on a report the realty group prepared for the developer.

Ms. Gray said later she hoped her cross-examination showed that the economic forecast in the Legg Mason study was based on the developer's assumptions and not empirical data. "If the assumptions are wrong, the report is worthless," she said.

Engineering consultant Terrell A. Fisher was also cross-examined his earlier testimony about the delivery of water and sewer service to the property. He acknowledged, during questioning by Ms. Gray, that the developer will receive a rebate for some of the water and sewer construction costs.

The hearing will resume at 8 p.m. Sept. 2. Hearings are also scheduled for Sept. 9 and 16.

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