Bid for shopping center faces yet another delay


After waiting more than five years for work to begin on Route 100, Robert Moxley now faces another delay that might keep him from developing a 54-acre site at the highway's interchange with U.S. 29.

His proposal to rezone the Ellicott City property for a shopping center is one of four major cases up for county Zoning Board action. The proposal could be stalled until next spring as the board completes comprehensive rezoning of the eastern part of Howard.

Unlike individual, or "piecemeal" rezoning, comprehensive rezoning is a political process during which the county changes zoning regulations and rezones property to match long-term county growth policies.

"If we get caught in the moratorium, that would really be sad," said David A. Carney, Mr. Moxley's zoning attorney. "We asked that they not do it to this case because of the importance of this property to the economic development of this county."

Mr. Moxley expects to hear Sept. 2 whether the zoning panel will agree to hear his case for the zoning change, which would enable him to build a shopping center anchored by a major grocery store the junction of U.S. 29, Route 103 and Route 100. Earlier plans called for a mix of shopping, offices and apartments.

The parcel depended on access to the $16 million Route 100 intersection, which is now being built after being delayed by state budget woes. The intersection is scheduled for completion in late 1993, but its connection to Anne Arundel County is estimated to be at least five years away.

The proposal had been scheduled for a Sept. 29 hearing, but Mr. Carney made a written request that the board consider hearing the case before the lengthy comprehensive rezoning process begins.

Marsha McLaughlin, deputy director of the Department of Planning and Zoning, said a first draft of the department's comprehensive rezoning recommendations will be ready in two weeks. But considering the likelihood of two rounds of Planning Board and Zoning Board hearings, a final decision may not be signed until March, she said.

One large project that apparently will be decided before comprehensive rezoning begins is Waverly Woods II, a proposal that would create something resembling a Columbia village on 682 acres in Marriottsville. It would include 937 homes, 1.7 million square feet of office space and an 18-hole public golf course.

Five nights of contentious Zoning Board hearings about the development began in March and are scheduled to continue on the nights of Sept. 2, 9 and 16.

The Zoning Board also will have to consider rezoning a 65-acre parcel in Columbia that is now zoned for three-acre residential lots.

In that petition, Woodlot Enterprises Inc., seeks zoning for town houses and quarter-acre lots. The Planning Board, on June 23, recommended approval.

Another project that will be decided before the rezoning moratorium is a proposal to change 50 acres of office/research property in lower Ellicott City to accommodate 730 condominiums. The Planning Board unanimously recommended denial of the rezoning last Tuesday.

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