Developer sues county over sewer line extension; He says officials OK'd, then denied his request


A developer hoping to build a townhouse complex for senior citizens on the western edge of Ellicott City is suing Howard County, claiming that county officials first approved extension of sewer lines to his property and later denied his request.

Ahmad Bagheri was planning to build 25 townhouses for the elderly on 13.75 acres at Frederick and Folly Quarter roads despite community opposition.

In March, the Howard County Council rejected Bagheri's arguments that officials had told him he would get sewer lines, then voted unanimously to deny an extension of sewer service to his property.

Bagheri bought the land in 1993 and was told by county officials that sewer lines eventually would be connected to it, according to the lawsuit filed Friday. Last year, he was approached about selling the land and wanted to make sure that it was still eligible for sewer lines, he says.

James M. Irvin, the county director of public works, told Bagheri that extending the lines would cost about $400,000, the lawsuit says.

Irvin declined to recommend extension of the lines unless other property owners also requested hookups. Bagheri soon began planning to build the two-story, single-family townhouses on the property.

When he approached the Department of Planning and Zoning, his request for the extension was denied. Officials told Bagheri that the department would not endorse any extension of the sewer lines to that area because it contradicted the county's General Plan.

The Planning Board sided with the department in December, but a month later the Board of Appeals reversed the Planning Board's decision and approved Bagheri's plans.

In February, a resolution was introduced in the County Council to stop Bagheri from obtaining the sewer extension, even if he paid the cost himself. The council approved the resolution in March.

Pub Date: 9/23/99

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