The Hayfields Country Club proposal took one step forward and another back yesterday as the Baltimore County Board of Appeals approved a 48-acre expansion of the golf course but reduced by two the number of residential building lots allowed in the rural conservation zone.
With the historic Merryman mansion counting as one house site, the Mangione family previously had approval to build 39 luxury houses on the residential part of the 475-acre tract at Interstate 83 and Shawan Road.
However, two of the four house sites that would have been adjacent to the planned golf course were lost in the board decision, which is expected to be appealed with other issues to Circuit Court.
John Mangione, who heads the project for his family business, said he would not comment until the board issues a written opinion, in about two weeks.
John Bernstein, executive director of the Valleys Planning Council, a nonprofit group that has fought the Mangione plan, fTC said, "Those two lots make my week. It's a big loss for him of two golf-course lots."
The three-member board, however, approved Mangione's proposal to expand the golf course from 228 acres to 276 acres and granted height and setback variances for various buildings, including the mansion and two silos. The mansion and some outbuildings, not including the silos, are protected by historic landmark designation.
The board said it granted the variances for the silos because Mangione wants a "farm ambience" even though the main use of the property will change drastically.
Last month, a different three-member panel of the board granted a special exception to allow the country club in the rural conservation zone. Mangione proposed amendments, which led to two more hearing days and yesterday's deliberation.
Board members criticized opponents of the Hayfields project, saying they attempted to retry the special exception case and did not produce any substantive new testimony or evidence to oppose the amended development plan.
The panel acknowledged that Hayfields is a historic estate that played a significant role during the Civil War, but S. Diane Levero, a member, said, "It would be unreasonable to deny adaptive reuse of the buildings."
Yesterday's 3-0 board vote was the public deliberation part of the process, but there was no discussion or debate among panelists before they individually stated their conclusions on each aspect of the case.
Court rulings have required that the sessions -- and deliberations of panel members -- be open to the public.
Pub Date: 8/29/96