Community Feedback Given on Proposed Retirement Community

At the Zoning Board meeting on October 12, members of the public shared their views on the proposed Erickson Living at Limestone Valley retirement community. This meeting was the first required opportunity for the community to participate in the formal development process. The impact of the project on traffic along MD 108 was a major concern raised. David Elsaesser, a River Hill resident, noted that although the concept plan includes a light on MD 108 at Linden Linthicum Lane and relocation of the Sheppard Lane intersection, only a single eastbound through lane is proposed between Linden Linthicum Lane and River Hill High School. He questioned whether these changes will be adequate to address congestion and safety in the area. He also questioned the ability to extend the proposed access road to Auto Drive and the relationship of this project to the redevelopment of the River Hill Garden Center property. Eden Weber, another resident of the Village of River Hill, noted that the Great Star Drive/MD 108 intersection needs to be evaluated as a part of the project.

Several opponents commented that the project will change the character of the area from a gateway to the more rural western portion of the County to a “mini city.” They questioned whether the proposed development fits in the community due to its size, density, and location adjacent to properties with agricultural preservation easements. Some community members questioned whether there are other locations within the existing planned service area that can accommodate the project. They recommended evaluating these sites before going through the process of amending the County’s General Plan and extending public water and sewer. Others expressed concerns about the financial impact this project will have on smaller CCRCs in Howard County and the adequacy of emergency medical and fire services given the projected increase in population.

There was support for the project and other attendees offered suggestions for enhancements. Several attendees spoke about the need for additional residential options for Howard County’s aging population and cited personal experiences at other Erickson Living communities. Some supporters noted the positive impacts the proposed project will have, including opportunities for youth employment, housing relatives nearby, and maintaining the County’s tax base. Other audience members recommended extending the proposed bike lanes and sidewalks to Chapel Woods, along the proposed access road, and to the existing commercial area. Renee DuBois, River Hill Board Member and Development Committee Chairperson, recommended modifications such as the construction of a community playground or park to promote interaction between the residents of the CCRC and the surrounding River Hill/Clarksville area. Members of the Zoning Board discussed the concept of establishing covenants that would ensure the property would revert to its current zoning (RC-DEO) if Erickson was unable to move forward on the project.
To view the Initial Concept Plan presented to the Zoning Board and Erickson’s petition to amend the general plan, visit:
To view The Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning’s preliminary evaluation of the CEF District proposal visit: http://cc.howardcountymd.gov/Zoning-Land-Use/Schedule-of-Hearings and click on Preliminary Evaluation.
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