Howard planners seek new categories to regulate growth in eastern county


Because of incorrect information provided by a county official, an article in Thursday's Howard County section incorrectly reported the date of the first of several Planning Board hearings on the county's eastern comprehensive rezoning. The first hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17.

The Baltimore Sun regrets the errors.

The months-long process of deciding how to regulate the eastern county's growth into the next decade began yesterday when county government planners filed the area's comprehensive rezoning petition.

The proposal would designate four major tracts of a new "mixed-use" zoning category, rezone three Ellicott City office/research tracts for apartment use and allow 682 rural acres in Marriottsville and Woodstock to be developed into a Columbia-style village.

The largest change will put virtually all land along the Patapsco River, from Woodstock to Elkridge, into two new "residential-environmental development" zoning districts. The new categories allow developers to cluster homes so as not to disturb environmentally sensitive areas.

"In areas like Bonnie Branch and Ilchester roads, it's impossible in those wooded, sloping areas that don't have much of an open area to develop without destroying the environment," said Joseph Rutter, county planning and zoning director.

Mr. Rutter said planners worked on the new map for about 18 months and have incorporated ideas submitted by community groups.

The county Planning Board will hold the first of several hearings Oct. 17. Once the board members have made a recommendation, the County Council, sitting as the Zoning Board, also will hear testimony and make a final decision.

Mr. Rutter has scheduled community meetings in Elkridge, tentatively next Thursday, and in the Wheatfields subdivision in Ellicott City Oct. 19. He said that he is willing to set up other meetings, the schedule permitting, upon request.

Among the major changes on the proposed zoning map are:

* Mixed-use zoning in North Laurel along Interstate 95 between Route 216 and Gorman Road; between Fulton and U.S. 29 between Route 216 and Johns Hopkins Road; in Jessup along I-95 between Route 175 and the Guilford area; in southern Ellicott City between the future Route 100 and Route 108 at the planned extension of Snowden River Parkway; and, in Ellicott City, between U.S. 40, Ridge Road and Rogers Avenue.

* Rezoning sought by developers of Waverly Woods II in Marriottsville and Woodstock. The hotly contested package of zoning changes would allow about 1.7 million square feet of office or other commercial space, an 8.5-acre shopping center, and 937 houses and apartments around an 18-hole public golf course. The Zoning Board also is hearing that case individually.

* Half-acre residential zoning for a scattering of properties along the western edge of the eastern zoning area. The current 3-acre lot rural zoning is being scrapped.

* General business zoning sought by developer Robert Moxley on 54 acres between U.S. 29, Route 100, Long Gate Parkway and Route 103.

* Apartment zoning on half another 54-acre tract where the Zoning Board refused to grant general business zoning for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. for two warehouse-sized stores at U.S. 40 at North Ridge Road.

* Apartment zoning near I-70 and Rogers Avenue in Ellicott City. Henry J. Knott Development Co. has plans for between 500 and 600 units there, but the project would likely be held up four years because of overcrowded schools in the area.

* Apartment zoning along future Route 100 just north of the Oakland Ridge Industrial Center and Howard High School. K&M; Development Corp. has an individual rezoning case pending that would change 50 acres of the office/research area to accommodate 730 condominiums. The petition would only grant about half that, but would add additional apartment zoning on another property to the north.

Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad