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Shaool touts 'handsome' plan

August 06, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Calling his revised plan for a 599-unit housing complex "very, very handsome," developer Manny Shaool asked Monday that the Washington County Planning Commission not embarrass him again by rejecting his proposal a second time.

Shaool presented the proposal to develop 220 acres off Mount Aetna Road at the Planning Commission's Monday night meeting.

"I wish you people would consider it and don't embarrass me again," Shaool said.

The Planning Commission in May recommended that the Washington County Commissioners turn down Shaool's original proposal, which called for 990 housing units at the same site.

The Planning Commission cited concerns about the high density of the project and the traffic impact on local roads as reasons for the action. Residents also opposed the development, saying it would overcrowd elementary schools.

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Shaool withdrew the original plan in June, the same day the County Commissioners were to vote on it.

The revised plan includes 170 single-family units, 99 townhouses, 180 condominiums and duplexes. Some of the homes would cost $500,000 or more, Shaool said.

He is seeking a Planned Urban Development zoning designation, which would give him permission to build more units per acre than county regulations normally allow.

Shaool's engineer, Willis E. "Bill" Weikert of Fox & Associates Inc., said the development would not overcrowd local schools and that the Washington County Board of Education endorsed the complex because it is planning an elementary school near the site, close to Eastern Elementary School.

"The Washington County Board of Education has plans for a second elementary school," Weikert said. "They have embraced this subdivision because that will make it more attractive to them to put another elementary school there."

After the meeting, Schools Superintendent Elizabeth Morgan said the School Board hasn't discussed the project or building another elementary school but that there's room in the area to do so.

Dennis McGee, the School Board's director of facilities, said after the meeting that he didn't think state funding would be available for an elementary school. He said the School Board would rather balance enrollments through redistricting than build a new school.

At the meeting, Shaool said he's a good developer and wants to build a high-quality complex in the county.

"This is my lifetime dream," Shaool said.

The Planning Commission and the Washington County Commissioners will hold a joint public hearing on the revised plan on Sept. 23 at 7 p.m. at the Washington County Courthouse.

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