UPDATE (Dec. 8, 10:30 p.m.)—Neighbors of a planned housing development next to the shared concerns about school overcrowding, water flow and safety Thursday night.
The plan to construct 50 new single family homes in a 25-acre lot of forest and farmland was "still in its beginning stages," said developer Jonathan C. Mayers, president of Chesapeake Realty Partners, during the community meeting.
Mayers was joined by Donald Mitten of Richardson Engineering, LLC, and Jan Cook, a Baltimore County project manager, in sharing the plan and taking questions from community members.
The development, that may take a full year and a half to gain county approval, is pending a traffic study, additional meetings and market forces, Cook said.
The finished homes are expected to sell in the $450,000-$500,000 range, Mayers said.
The county projects that new homeowners will add 11 elementary school students, seven middle school students and nine high school students, Mitten said.
But Mary Miller, a longtime resident of Cross Road, said the additional students may be more than local schools are prepared to handle.
"My son has 64 students in his phys ed class at the high school and he said a lot of the children were getting away with a lot of stuff ... how will they learn?" Miller said.
Some community members said they believed the number of additional students was underestimated.
Cook, however, said he supported Mitten's use of the numbers. "He's just following what the office of planning is giving him," he said.
Discussion about water flow dominated much of the meeting.
In past years, housing developments were required to construct large storm water drainage ponds. But the preferred system now calls for multiple shallow depressions, filled partially with sand, that filter smaller amounts of water, Mitten said.
The land's natural gradation would send nearly all of the runoff from the planned housing development flowing southeast, in the direction of the Honeygo and Cross Road intersection, Mitten said, and away from older, existing homes.
Some community members, however, said the developer would need to take special precautions to prevent the additional water from entering their backyards.
Mayers said he would be willing to personally walk through the backyards of nearby residents to evaluate the possibility of damage caused by water runoff.
"Not everyone wants to see housing, and we respect that, but we're very respectful of the regulations," he said.
Paul Amirault, treasurer of the , said his major concern was about the saftey of children traveling from the development to , which would involve crossing Honeygo traffic.
"We're protecting trees and storm water management, but what are we doing to protect these kids?" Amirault said.
Mayers said he would explore ways to make crossing the street safer and consider Amirault's suggestion to construct an overhead crossing bridge.
Mayers also addressed questions about the land's former ownership.
The Archdiocese of Baltimore had, at one time, intended to use the land for a Catholic church, one resident said.
At one time, much of the land had been intended to become a holding place for county school buses, causing a highly-publicized backlash from local residents, Mayers said.
Under a land-swap deal with the developer, a section of the lot directly adjacent to the library is still intended to be under the ownership of the county, Mayers said.
plans to form a committee to determine the land's best use, he said, adding that it's large enough to house another senior center or possible gymnasium.
"We're setting the table to create a better situation for all of us," Mayers said.
UPDATE (Dec. 8, 3:30 p.m.)—A small handwritten sign along Honeygo Boulevard announces a community input meeting at 6:45 p.m., tonight to discuss a proposal for 50 new single family homes in a 25-acre field next to the , on Honeygo Boulevard.
Librarians said they were unsure when the sign was posted, but several community members had called the library throughout the day Thursday to confirm meeting details.
Jan Cook, a Baltimore County project manager, confirmed that he would be attending the meeting.
"Notices were sent out to community associations and owners of properties adjacent to the proposed development," Cook said.
The meeting will conducted by the developing company, Arch Op, LLC, and the development engineer, Donald Mitten of Richardson Engineering, LLC, Cook said.
Construction on the 50 planned homes is pending county approval, a traffic study, additional meetings and market forces, he said.
"Generally, they will have from a year from tonight to come up with a development plan," Cook said.
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