December 15, 2017
Community
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  • A sign at the intersection of Old County Road and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard announces plans for a subdivision to be built by Uchllyn Investors LLC.
    A sign at the intersection of Old County Road and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard announces plans for a subdivision to be built by Uchllyn Investors LLC.

Community Members Seek More Information About Wroxeter Development

Dylan Roche
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October 4, 2017

UPDATE: Uchllyn Investors has agreed to hold a community meeting on Wednesday, November 15, at 6:00pm at Severna Park Library. The meeting is open to the public.

If a developer wants to build on environmentally sensitive land or subdivide a property that adjoins a residentially zoned and developed lot, then — according to Anne Arundel County Code — “the developers shall hold a community meeting for the purpose of presenting information regarding the development, including proposed stormwater management design and any requested modifications, and allowing the community to ask questions and provide comments.”

But Uchllyn Investors LLC has not set a date for a public community meeting to discuss its plans to develop the land along Wroxeter Road and Old County Road in Arnold. Instead, Uchllyn Investors has requested a modification that its variance hearing with the Administrative Hearing Office satisfy the community meeting requirement.

Although the county has not yet made a decision whether to grant this modification, the request does not sit well with Arnold Preservation Council, the Severn River Association and other concerned citizens. “Our main concern is the lack of transparency and community involvement with this proposed development,” said Elizabeth Rosborg, vice president of the Arnold Preservation Council. “The burden has been on us to gather all the information, to go to the Planning and Zoning office, meet with planners, make copies, scan and post on our website to inform Arnold residents. It is hard to understand and needs to be explained.” She added that development of the property would affect not only Rugby Hall, which sits adjacent to the site, but also Severn View, Glen Oban and Belleview. “We would like to be part of the process and know what is being proposed,” she said.

So far, the only information that has been available are the modification request and variance request, which are public information through the Office of Planning and Zoning, and the date and time of the variance hearing, which is a public process, on Thursday, November 30, at the Arundel Center. Representatives from Uchllyn Investors LLC were unavailable for comment on the project.

The plot of land — informally known as the Bohlman property after the family who previously owned it – comprises approximately 56 acres, 28.86 of which are located within the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area and are designated a Resource Conservation Area. As it was sold, the land holds four residences and three accessory structures, such as barns or sheds.

Uchllyn Investors wants to subdivide the land and build five residential homes, each on its own acre on the part of the property closest to Rugby Hall. Although much of the property is zoned R1 (one dwelling per acre), the development requires a variance to allow lots with greater density than is allowed in the Resource Conservation Area, to disturb the 15 percent steep slopes, and to build with less buffer than required by county code.

Such a variance has environmentalists concerned. Jeff Schomig, vice president of the Severn River Association, said that his organization has not taken a position but is looking closely at the issue. “Our first concern is that taxpayers have to foot the bill for restoration of the waterways, but the county continues to grant variance after variance to developers,” he said. “We’re concerned this is another example of that. We’re concerned especially when developers want to build inside the critical area, especially in the Resource Conservation Area.”

Arnold Preservation Council has taken a formal stance by requesting an opportunity to formally engage directly with representatives from Uchllyn Investors and find out their exact plans for handling this and any future developments. “They have asked for a modification to skip the community meeting,” Rosborg said. “Their reasoning is they’re going for a variance, and they believe all the information that will be provided by the variance will fulfill the requirement for the community meeting. Arnold Preservation Council does not support that modification, and has asked for a community meeting.”

Until such time — if ever — that a community meeting is set, concerned citizens will need to plan to attend the November 30 variance hearing. Paperwork related to the modification application and variance request is available on the Arnold Preservation Council’s website at www.arnoldpreservationcouncil.org under “Happening Now,” and more information on the variance hearing can be found at www.aacounty.org/departments/admin-hearings.

Although Uchllyn Investors has announced only a subdivision of five homes alongside Rugby Hall, there are still another 50 acres left on the property. “We have no information at this time regarding future plans for the property,” said Tracie Reynolds, public information officer for Anne Arundel County. “Any future development would be reviewed by [the Office of Planning and Zoning] when or if an application is submitted.”

Rosborg emphasized that Arnold Preservation Council is not opposed to sustained planned growth, but people should know what’s going on before the tractors show up. “Our feeling is that it does have a direct impact to environmentally sensitive areas and it does have an impact on the enjoyment of adjoining property,” she said. “The neighbors want to know what’s going on.”

Comments

Posted 12/31/1969 07:00 PM

Thank for bringing this lovely property to our attention. I think that there is a great opportunity to do a responsible development. I enjoy riding the bike trail in front of the Bolhman house, and have witnessed the mating eagles nest that sits right off old county and the B&A trail. I hope they do the right thing for everyone involved.

Posted 12/31/1969 07:00 PM

Dear: Severna Park voice.we read and talked about your article on the future development of the land beside the B&A trail and Old County road. I would like to let the public know that there is a active eagle nest behind the old Bolman house on old county. We've watched a pair nest and raise young the last 2 yearsPlease let the public know so that the developers are not allowed to CUT DOWN THEIR TREE. Madison 9 year old trail rider and eagle watcher.

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