Development News: Proposed Housing, Other Changes on Horizon

The River Hill Board of Directors (RHBOD) continues to monitor and provide comments on development projects impacting the community. Residents can review the plans and related files at the Department of Planning and Zoning (DPZ) offices (3430 Courthouse Drive, Ellicott City). To request additional information or arrange to submit comments in writing, call 410-313-2354 or send an email to planning@howardcountymd.gov. Residents are encouraged to share their input with the association at a board meeting by contacting the Development Committee Chairperson at manager@villageofriverhill.org or 443-686-0702.
Following are updates on several projects:

Robinson Overlook

On November 7, The Woda Group, Inc., held a community pre-submission meeting for a 48-unit, mixed income, multi-family rental housing community at 7410 Grace Drive, Columbia. The project is a partnership between Woda and the Howard County Housing Commission. Financing for the project is through a low-income housing tax credit program administered by the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development. Rents in most of the units will be restricted to 30% – 60% of the Area Median Household Income. Five units will rent at market rates. The project’s environmental concept plan (ECP-19-005) is under review by the county and outlines plans for stormwater quality and quantity and forest retention.

Following ECP approval, the developer will submit the Site Development Plan (SDP) and expects the county review and approval process to take 6 – 8 months. The project includes the widening of Grace Drive and the installation of a sidewalk along the property’s frontage, the removal of regrowth on the site, and new plantings. The five buildings are proposed to be 3 stories high with dormers on some units. 1.8 parking spaces are planned per unit. Amenities will include a tot lot and a community room.

Residents in attendance at the meeting expressed concerns about school capacities, the impact on the residential property to the rear, a lack of public transportation to the site, and the aesthetics of the proposed structures. Howard County Housing Commission housing developments are permitted under the current Planned Office Research zoning. Therefore, aside from the pre-submission meeting held in November, no other public meetings are required. The association’s Development Committee is currently researching the potential impact of the project on local school capacities and its findings will be shared with the community as the RH Board develops its position.

Erickson Living Continuing Care Retirement Community

Erickson Living Properties II, LLC submitted a petition to amend the zoning map of Howard County on November 6. The purpose of the proposed rezoning is to create a Community Enhanced Floating District (CEF-M) to enable the creation of an Erickson Living continuing care retirement community in Clarksville and the enhancement and reconfiguration of the existing Freestate gasoline service station. The plan is expected to be reviewed by the Howard County Zoning Board in early 2019.

Cedar Creek

At the November 5 meeting of the RHBOD, representatives from Chesapeake Realty Partners shared plans to connect the Cedar Creek (formerly Simpson Oaks) development to the Pointers Run neighborhood. The proposal includes connection to the existing Columbia Association (CA) pathway and the sidewalk at the Quiet Night Ride/Grace Drive circle, the addition of a sidewalk in the county right-of way on the north side of Grace Drive to Quiet Night Ride, and a crosswalk and pedestrian refuge island as you enter the circle from Grace Drive. Depending on the location of the pathway on the southernmost side (closest to MD 32), the existing street trees may be removed entirely or, if not removed, could sustain root system damage that could harm the trees over time. Residents in attendance at the meeting expressed concerns about the potential loss of mature trees and the safety of pedestrians. The RHBOD is currently collecting information in order to evaluate the pathway location options and develop its position.
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