Housing plan gets approval

May 02, 2006|By ANDREW SCHOTZ


After years of government and judicial review, a plan to build 595 housing units north of Mount Aetna Road received final approval Monday.

The Washington County Planning Commission voted 5-0 to approve a final development plan.

Developer Mansoor Shaool is scheduled to build the units in three phases.

The county will review each phase's subdivisions and site plans and the adequacy of schools and roads, according to Chief Planner Timothy Lung.

The project, on 221 acres in the Black Rock area, took a three-year detour through the court system.

In 2003, three Black Rock residents appealed the Washington County Commissioners' 2002 decision to change the zone from agricultural to planned unit development, which allows a mix of uses.


The residents said they were concerned about the impact on roads and schools. They also said witnesses during a public hearing were not sworn in.

A Washington County circuit judge ruled in favor of the county commissioners. Two months ago, the Maryland Court of Special Appeals upheld the circuit court decision.

The county's planning commission approved a preliminary plan for the project in August 2004 ? 21 months before Monday's final approval.

Two of the same Black Rock residents appealed the preliminary approval to the county's board of zoning appeals. The zoning board denied the appeal in March.

Single- and two-family homes, town houses and condominiums are included in the project.

Lung said phase one is scheduled to have 170 units. The second phase will be 210 units and the third phase is scheduled for 215 units.

Lung said the overall density of housing units will be 2.7 per acre.

The project will include 61 acres of open space, he said.

The planning commission agreed with a staff recommendation to only approve plans for the second and third phases if recreation facilities are completed.

The project is scheduled to have a clubhouse, a pool and tennis courts.

The elementary and middle schools that would serve the project are considered over capacity and the high school is near capacity, Lung said.

He said excise taxes that the county collects for the project will help pay for road improvements to the area around Robinwood Drive ? where a new Washington County Hospital is proposed ? and Dual Highway.

Additional road improvements might be needed on Mount Aetna and White Hall roads, he said.

Shaool originally proposed building 990 housing units, but scaled back the project in 2002.

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