About 50 North Laurel Park residents voiced their concerns last night to a developer who plans to build more than 60 new homes in a community they say is already too crowded.
The problems, residents say, are too many children and not enough space in area schools, heavy traffic, and inadequate storm water drainage.
"The traffic pattern is going to be awful," said Chris Maynard, who lives on Baltimore Avenue with a proposed construction site behind his house.
Speed bumps have been added to Baltimore Avenue to slow cars passing through the residential neighborhood, but the people expressed fears that more homes will add to the traffic volume on the two-lane through street and increase the danger to their children.
"No one seems to be concerned about safety for the kids playing on the street," said Mr. Maynard, who was among the people meeting with Brian Boy, vice president of the developer, Cornerstone Homes.
The company has already begun building 27 homes in its new Patuxent Heights development, and wants to construct 35 additional homes in the Patuxent Ridge development on half-acre lots behind Mr. Maynard's property.
Homeowners in North Laurel Park have long feared that developers would start building in the wooded area near their homes in the community between Route 216 and U.S. 1.
The lots were plotted in 1898 and zoned for residential single clusters, allowing single-family detached or attached homes.
Because the lots were zoned nearly a century ago, many of the current subdivision and land-development regulations, as well as environmental protection laws, do not apply, county planners said earlier.
Jim Gordon, whose house is on Baltimore Avenue near the Patuxent Ridge site, said he is concerned that the new development will not conform to current drainage standards.
Mr. Boy said the company is testing soils at Patuxent Ridge to assure installation of an adequate storm water-drainage system.
"What we're going to be doing is helping the drainage problem of current homes as well," he said.
The county Department of Planning and Zoning has said that Cornerstone Homes has no legal responsibility to meet current drainage laws.
But Delegate Virginia M. Thomas, a Columbia Democrat, said at the meeting, "We're going to have them [state legal experts] check that tomorrow."
Also attending the session was County Council Chairwoman Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, whose district includes North Laurel.
She acted as an intermediary between residents and Mr. Boy.
She said she was unable to address questions about school overcrowding because she did not have the information at hand.