Residents praise new plan for Severna Park 'Village center' featured in map of development


The area plan for Severna Park has received high marks from residents, unlike some plans for other areas in the county.

South County residents complained last week that a plan for their area is unrealistic, but Severna Park residents said this week they like the "village center" look and the mix of residential and commercial uses.

'Really pleased'

"Basically, people are really pleased with the outcome and appreciate the opportunity to give their input," said Larry Masterson, who is on the board of the Greater Severna Park Council.

The only area of contention has been Ritchie Highway. Some residents want to stop commercial development; others say such development is so advanced that there is little sense in trying to stop it.

The plan is part of a countywide effort to guide zoning and land-use decisions over the next 20 years.

The Severna Park plan, which extends from Elvaton Road to Jones Station Road, and Veterans Highway to the Magothy River, is one of 16 areas creating a plan, all of which will be be made final next month.

Trees and knolls

The plan calls for a village center to replace the commercial strip along Ritchie Highway near Robinson Road. The center would have trees and grassy knolls, walking paths and possibly a pedestrian overpass to cross the busy highway.

The village center also would include several fountains and old-fashioned lampposts between and behind buildings.

The planning group agreed to leave the rest of Ritchie Highway the way it is, with development contained to the proposed village center.

Members also made seven recommendations that denied requests to change residential zoning to commercial near or on Ritchie Highway.

Most residents have told organizers they particularly like the plan's recommendation to spruce up the commercial strip, said county spokesman John Morris.

Disagreements over height

Some initial disagreement arose over the height of possible new buildings in the proposed Village Center, which is now a one-story strip mall, but those fears were quickly quelled.

"People have misunderstood the drawings to think that they call for apartment buildings, which is not at all what they do," said Michael Fox, a county planner who headed the group that drafted the plans for Severna Park and Broadneck.

Committee representatives "have done such a thorough job of figuring out where the area wants to go and what they want to have, it has otherwise been really well received."

Pub Date: 11/25/98

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