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Study says roads near former base ready for more traffic

January 24, 2006|by TARA REILLY

CASCADE

tarar@herald-mail.com

A recent traffic study of the proposed development of the former Fort Ritchie U.S. Army base states that, with several improvements, roads near the property would be able to handle increased traffic.

PenMar Development Corp. Executive Director Richard D. Rook said Monday he hasn't seen the traffic study, but that it was paid for by Corporate Office Properties Trust (COPT) of Columbia, Md.

The recommendations in the study include adding turn lanes on Camp Ritchie, MacFee Hill and Pen Mar roads.

COPT has agreed to buy the former base in Cascade from PenMar, and plans to turn it into a residential and business center.

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Randall M. Griffin, president and CEO of COPT, said Monday that the recommended improvements weren't major and that COPT had planned to go beyond the recommendations.

"Despite what a lot of people may have accused ... the reality is it's really nothing much of any concern," Griffin said.

PenMar was created by the state in 1997 to redevelop the former base, which the Army shut down in 1998. It plans to sell the property to COPT after the Army transfers ownership of the base to PenMar.

The transfer has been tied up in federal court.

Mickey Cornelius of The Traffic Group, which prepared the study, did not return a phone call Monday. The Traffic Group has offices in Baltimore, Manassas, Va., and Ocean Pines, Md.

COPT has proposed 417 apartments, 166 town houses, 90 single-family homes and 1.6 million square feet of office space, according to the traffic study.

"Given the data analyses presented in this study ... the surrounding area road system is capable of supporting the proposed build-out of the Fort Ritchie site," the study states.

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