Creators of new Odenton resume effort Plan envisioned by December


After an eight-month hiatus, a committee trying to design a new Odenton met last night and started working toward its final goal of linking several distinct neighborhoods and creating a cohesive community.

Staff members from various county departments compiled suggestions from five subcommittees, and now will work with the committee to come up with a final plan by December.

The trick will be creating a single community out of distinct neighborhoods that include a historic district, an industrial zone, several new developments currently under construction and the "boom town" strip that abuts Fort Meade.

"We are still struggling with what is the image of Odenton," said Dwight Flowers, who is on the county planning staff and is the architect of the Odenton plan. "It is a fragmented image."

"Should we deal with each area separately and enhance it or should we bring everything together to create a unified whole?" he asked.

The answer will come in the next few months after committee members, who represent developers, businesses and residents, meet and decide how Odenton should look over the next several decades.

Called the Odenton Town Center Growth Management Committee, the panel has met over the past 18 months to draft guidelines for construction projects in the 218-acre town center and its periphery.

During that time, the committee has expanded its scope to include virtually all of Odenton.

The committee last met in November, prompting several business owners and developers to call it defunct. The county attributed the delay to a massive reorganization of government agencies.

"We had a semester recess and we are ready to go," said Alfred A. Shehab, the committee chairman.

Last night, county staff members outlined their preliminary plan for the area, much of which was a compilation of what the subcommittees had proposed last year. The comprehensive list includes widening Route 175, building new sidewalks and providing parking in back of existing buildings. That would make Route 175 the "main street" of Odenton.

Other suggestions on the list:

* Designate bike routes to link residential and business areas and to hook up with the B&A; Trail, which connects Annapolis to Glen Burnie.

* Layout a transit shuttle route through neighborhoods, linking the Odenton MARC train station, the new town center and the new Piney Orchard development.

* Improve Route 170 where it intersects Route 175 and create an access to the Odenton historic area.

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