Final draft of Crofton plan awaits views of residents; Public hearing to be held tonight


Residents who run businesses out of their homes along Defense Highway in Crofton haven't persuaded the Crofton small area planning committee to recommend the commercial zoning they want.

They'll have another chance to plead their case tonight at a public hearing on the final draft of the small-area plan covering the area bound by the Little Patuxent River, Route 3, U.S. 50 and the North River. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. at Crofton Woods Elementary School, and residents can sign up at 5: 30 p.m. to speak before the panel.

The presentation, to be made by committee chairman David Espie to representatives from the county office of Planning and Code Enforcement, will cover recommendations for new schools, a library, road improvements and zoning changes that committee members studied and haggled over for a year and a half.

The meeting also will give residents an opportunity to tell planning office officials about their concerns. Residents can send in written comments within 30 days.

"We don't think we're recommending radical changes," Espie said. "We feel we're recommending improvements that will enhance the quality of life for residents."

Although the committee did not back commercial zoning for the homes along Defense Highway, it recommended creating a "bungalow zone" allowing business use of the land as long as the businesses looked like houses.

The creation of a zoning code would require legislation, Espie said.

A little farther along Defense Highway, at Staples Corner, the intersection of Defense Highway and Davidsonville Road, the plan recommends expanding commercial zoning to attract development that would bring in office buildings and more "attractive development," Espie said.

Other features of the Crofton plan include:

Making Davidsonville Road, which splits northern and southern areas of Crofton, into a "Main Street." The report also recom- mends narrowing the road, adding traffic circles and adding a hiking and biking path from Route 3 to Belle Branch Park below the Defense Highway intersection.

Creating an overpass near the Crofton gateway at Route 3 to link residents to businesses across the busy road and slightly expanding commercial zoning on both sides of Route 3 where the overpass is proposed.

Using land around Crofton Middle School to build a high school to serve the growing population in western Anne Arundel. The plan also calls for a North Crofton elementary school on a parcel along Nantucket Drive off the north end of Riedel Road. It would be built concurrently with subdivisions.

Creating a community center, with services for senior citizens and indoor recreation, on 17 acres along Riedel and Davidsonville roads. A Crofton library is planned on that land.

Widening Defense Highway to up to five lanes, with sidewalks in the commercial areas of Priest Bridge, near Route 3, and Staples Corner at Davidsonville Road. The plan also calls for upgrades to Defense Highway to keep the road from flooding during heavy rains.

Creating a Crofton growth management area, bounded by Route 3, Defense Highway and Underwood Road. A growth management committee, composed of residents, would represent the interests of the community.

The plan in Crofton is one of several that communities around the county are producing. Residents' comments will guide revisions to the plan before it is sent to the County Planning Advisory Board for review, and to the County Council to be used in the general development plan, a countywide plan for development and zoning issues for 20 years.

Pub Date: 10/20/99

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