While lawyers hash out the logistics of a land transfer on Ducketts Lane in court, the elementary school scheduled to open there by 2013 is moving along in the planning process.
This week, engineers for the future school submitted the site development plan to the Department of Planning and Zoning.
Submission of the plan is a milestone that precedes major development, according to the Department of Planning and Zoning, which must review and sign off on the document before construction begins.
The Ducketts Lane elementary school site development plan encompasses 34 pages outlining elements from drainage to fencing to crosswalks.
Because building the school entails cutting down trees—in its current form, the site is a wooded lot—the plan calls for planting trees elsewhere.
Bollman Bridge Elementary School in Jessup will be the recipient, gaining approximately 5.07 acres of conservation area by its baseball fields, according to the plan.
The school system also said it would pay a fee in lieu of reforestation for an additional acre; that amount was not disclosed in the plan. According to the 2011 guidelines from the Department of Planning and Zoning, the fee-in-lieu of reforestation for an acre falls between $32,670 and $41,382.
In addition, the school system will have to "provide greater habitat diversity and potential" to an existing wetland system, according to the plan, in exchange for developing where there is a wetland on the Ducketts site.
Currently, Department of Planning and Zoning officials are reviewing the documents, but it could be months before construction occurs, since the school system does not yet own the land. A lien on the property has caused the transfer to come to a standstill, and the Howard County Board of Education has filed suit against the seller—Ducketts Ridge LLC—as a result.
This week, the Howard County Circuit Court filed a Jan. 10 judge’s order granting an injunction against the property owner, stating that Ducketts Ridge cannot sell the property to anyone else or "take any action to otherwise encumber the title to the property" until the issue is resolved through the courts or the Howard County Board of Education terminates the contract of sale.
School officials told Elkridge parents last month that planning should be on track, as long as the sale takes place before the spring.
The timetable for development is approximately 19 months, according to the site development plan.
In the final months, the plan calls for installing sidewalks and widening Ducketts Lane.