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More Apartments Coming to Elkridge

The Zoning Board approved a change to permit 340 rental units on Old Waterloo and Lark Brown roads.

The developer of a proposed apartment complex in Elkridge won a victory when the Howard County Zoning Board voted, 4-1, on Tuesday to grant a request for increased density.

asked county officials to change the zoning of 18.6 acres at the intersection of Lark Brown and Old Waterloo roads in Elkridge. The request included an increase in density for a proposed apartment project called Paragon at Gateway Overlook. Previous development plans included an employment center and fewer residential units.

“What we’re proposing is a high-end rental alternative,” said Jonathan Mayers, president of Chesapeake Realty Partners, who was representing the developer.

He said the target rental market was “the barbell population" of 25–34-year old professionals and 55-plus snowbirds, who he said were the "two ends of the housing market...driving the changes in housing."

Paragon at Gateway Overlook would contain 320 one- and two-bedroom apartments in five buildings on land that had been zoned for employment use, according to the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning's report.

Greg Fox (R-Fulton) opposed the zoning change to residential, stating he was “concerned about the fiscal impact” 320 apartments would have on the area.

The apartments were projected to result in approximately 39 to 49 new school students, according to documentation provided by developers to the Zoning Board.

For public schooling, Howard County spends $13,660 per pupil annually.

"I think it appears to be a good project," said Fox. "I'm just concerned about the over and over and over again reduction in commercial and manufacturing property and the decreasing percentage of our tax base in commercial revenues ... it concerns me."

Joseph Rutter, a land planner who testified on behalf of the developer, said that additional commercial space didn’t make sense. To the west is the Gateway Overlook shopping center, home to stores such as , and .

“It could be more big box—that’s what it’s zoned for—but that’s not where the market is,” said Rutter, who said more people were going online to make purchases.

Although she agreed with Rutter, zoning board member Courtney Watson (D-Ellicott City/Elkridge) said she could understand where Fox was coming from because of a .

"You and I were the only ones that voted aginst a major change from manufacturing to residential [], so this one does concern me from that standpoint," said Watson. "But if you think about it in terms of what makes sense to go there ... I don’t see a commercial use there. You say it's near [Interstate] 95, but the road network there is not great for commercial access."

“Do you realize that more residents leave the county to go to work than to come to work?” Fox asked his colleagues on the zoning board. He also asked someone to recall the last time the county rezoned residential land for commercial use.

"It's not a case of, is there a mistake in the zoning?" said Rutter. "Rather, it's an opportunity to amend the preliminary development plan in an efficient and effective way for this area … we believe it is a minor change."

The Department of Planning and Zoning will issue a decision and order making the ruling official in approximately two weeks.

Leslie Kornreich March 08, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Did anyone consider the affect of more residential development on the already overcrowded schools in Elkridge? It seems this development would be in the Deep Run Elementary attendance area -- a school already at 117% capacity. When apartments were built all up and down the Route 1 corridor recently, the school system said that no one with school-age kids would move into them. Guess what? They're here, and they'll move into this complex, too. The projection of 39-49 school-aged kids is extremely low and reflects HCPSS's history of very inaccurate projections for schools in the east. No planning for a second necessary elementary school is in the works, so the only plan is to cram more kids into our already overcrowded schools. There is going to be a serious decline in the quality of the education our kids receive in the eastern part of the county if this continues.
Tammy B. March 08, 2012 at 05:00 PM
This is absolutely ridiculous!!! Elkridge Residents wake up... someone is getting money in their pocket in exchange for turning Elkridge from the great place you wanted to live to the Montgomery County of Howard County with all the congestion. Approve apartments or housing in your own area Planning Board! You are taking kick backs and you know and so do some of us... there is no way this makes any other sense. Thanks for making Elkridge the dumping ground again! Aren't we already debating new school development from overcrowding?? Duh... how dumb does that make you look Planning Board?? I'd like to see the neighborhood you reside in, probably lots of open land! I hope you all sit in 2 hours of traffic to go 2 miles like the rest of us.. Karma goes around- stop taking kick backs it will only come back and bite you in the ass! Come on Election Day, if you are in now, I am voting you out. At this point I don't care what your speech is b/c you are all lying bastards anyway, residents don't get a choice. I have a 1/2 acre backyard, you wanna build a high rise on it??
Val McGuire March 08, 2012 at 05:31 PM
I am very dissappointed in the Zoning Board's decision. A high end apartment complex for the 25 - 34 year olds? How will they be able to afford it? Leslie makes very good points regarding our schools. (Folks, please vote for Leslie for the School Board! We need a rep from Elkridge on the Board of Education!!!) Once again, we lose. And I understand Tammy B's frustration as I have had similar thoughts myself. All I can say is to join the Greater Elkridge Community Association (GECA) and become an active member. Go to the website: www.geca-elkridge.org. The next membership meeting is March 28th at 7 pm at St. Augustine's Church hall.
sarah March 08, 2012 at 05:59 PM
THIS IS RIDICULOUS!! Elkridge is already crowded enough, its not like elkridge is a big city and has plenty of room for this its crazy the schools are very crowded and now everywhere you look there are new houses being built, once someone loses there home to forclosure or sells there homes its being bought by builders and turned into duplex to make the neighborhoods even more crowded then what they were! cant wait to get out of elkridge!
Mike A. March 08, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Yes the schools are overcrowded. Yes there are two schools to be built in the area (the recently approved Middle School and the proposed Elementary School on Ducketts). Yes the county is congested. I agree with all of you. But, there is no reason for a moratorium and they usually ONLY get placed when there is a load on the wastewater treatment system or the water supply system. There is plenty of water and sewer, and has been since the early 90's thanks to then Executive Dr. Charles Ecker; remember he placed water thru Elkridge, as well as sewer upgrades to bring Coca Cola to what is now Coca Cola Drive. I still don't see Coca Cola! he blew that deal. That said that would make it illegal to block approval for the development of someones land if it is zoned correctly. If there is land available, anywhere in this county it will be developed. There is not much that can be done to block it. The western end is safer because of lack of sewer and water. The comments made earlier about bribes; can anyone prove that? I doubt it. We are our own worst enemies. All of the school construction in the area that is proposed, yet we are crying :not in my backyard!" So where do we put it? For those complaining about the Ducketts Lane sight; the only thing I see wrong is the need for a light on Rt. 1. Keep in mind that when YOUR neighborhood was built we complained about your community and the load it would place on the schools then.
Annie March 08, 2012 at 11:40 PM
oh ya, come on bring in some more people,,,, make sure you have the section 8 in there too.
Kim Dixon March 09, 2012 at 01:24 AM
Oh there will be section 8. When the developer can't sell those apartments they will cry about how much money they are loosing and boom here they come. Welcome to kick back city.
Concerned Elkridgean March 09, 2012 at 01:30 PM
This is ridiculous more strain on our tax dollars! This project is not even in the Rte 1 revitalization plan! So what is the excuse now! I think the best thing would to tell people coming to Howard County it is not a good place to live! Instead of the bumper stickers choose civility buy the one choose insanity!! The schools and roads are overcrowded in the East with no relief. Howard County Economic Development Administration is suppose to bring growth in revenue not development! I would think they would advise the county on some of these zoning issues where lots of revenue will be lost by residential development instead of commercial development. And by the way I will mention Joel Galihue student projections have always been under the actual numbers.. Hey why not put in more senior housing, if you want residential. And Joe Rutter worked for the County in DPZ before Marsha MacLaughlin, he pushed for development then went to Anne Arundel County and did the same thing. Now he is working for whom the developers again!
Mike A. March 09, 2012 at 01:33 PM
From the looks of the picture abaove, they are high end apartments that will probably rent for well over $1000 a month. They are similar to the ones in Columbia (near the mall) and the ones by Arundel Mills. Section 8 will not come close to covering the rent each month. They also have waiting lists for the other two, and since they are the same development company they will probably push those on the waiting list to this location. If they were a typically styled Garden Apartment I would probably agree with some of you but not on this complex.
Erica McQuiston March 09, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Since when does every person or couple buying a home have a child? I live in a townhouse community in Elkridge and out of the 12 townhouses on my block there are 3 children. THREE. My husband and I are working professionals, pay our mortgage and taxes on time, are younger than 35, have no children, and are happy to have found a home that we love half way between our jobs. If I had known how the wonderful folks of Elkridge thought about us 'outsiders' I would have considered another city and county. Folks, we live near 95, THE major corridor on the east coast, and in between two major cities. Of course it will be congested and overcrowded. Mike A., you make very good points. Nice to hear someone else taking a step back to look at things more clearly.
Mike A. March 09, 2012 at 07:40 PM
Erica, Thanks for the comment... Wasn't hard for me to figure out. I try to live in reality! BTW, I have lived in the county for all but 10 or my 49 years.. Grew up in Ellicott City and now reside in Elkridge. Not all of us are like that!! Enjoy your home!! Enjoy the amenities that the area has to offer! Welcome!!
sarah March 11, 2012 at 06:28 AM
First off no one is saying new people are bad! The point is there are way to many damn people in elkridge!!!! This isnt a big city so there is no need to destroy what little land is left by adding a bunch of high cost apartments that no one can afford.
Tammy B. March 11, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Well said Sarah! I agree with you, the point is that Elkridge used to be a nice little rural town... now its becoming the overcrowded city that we wanted to avoid! BTW, I've lived in Elkridge for over 23 of my 43 years so I remember what it once was and just because we have an opinion other than some doesn't mean we haven't welcomed new people but at some point we need to close the door and protect what little green land is left, so if you are offended... get over it, you are already here, so what if your point! STOP BUILDING IN ELKRIDGE!!!!
Polly March 12, 2012 at 10:16 AM
You can bet they will rent for a lot more than $1000 a month. Have you even looked at the current monthly rents in this area? A two bedroom rents for $1,500+. I suspect the rents will be much higher.
Polly March 12, 2012 at 10:37 AM
I don't know much about Section 8, which is now called something else, can't remember what it is now. Unfortunately it can bring in a certain criminal element that no community wants. I would venture a guess though, that most of these folks are good, law abiding citizens. It's only the bad that is reported. It's unfair to stereotype. Do you think criminals only live in subsidized housing? I'd bet just as many are folks I wouldn't want to live around live in single family homes and/or townhomes they purchased. Do you all think the same of the MIHU (Moderate Income Housing Unit) program as well? They offer homes for purchase at reduced rates under certain criteria that many teachers, nurses, police officers etc., would qualify for. And yes they also offer apartments to rent at reduced rates as well. And the ones I've looked into are in the $1100+ range.
Polly March 12, 2012 at 10:39 AM
As a long time subscriber to the Elkridge Patch and having read the most disparaging, elitist remarks by most people in Elkridge that do comment comes as no surprise to me. It's par for the course. Must be grand thinking of yourselves as "better than". Having less income in and of itself does NOT make one a bad person just as having more income makes you a better person. How arrogant! I moved here over 4 years ago, and I did so in a rush, and didn't realize the image of Jessup. I've been looking into Elkridge for over a year but since I'm disabled and living on a limited income and would qualify for the MIHU program to purchase a new home, I see I'm not welcome in Elridge, perhaps even Howard County. Your loss. I sure as hell don't want to live someplace that I don't feel welcome. Would you?
sarah March 19, 2012 at 06:09 PM
iam not sure if all of you know about section 8 but its not what you think. It does not mean the area will be full of crime and bad people. Its to help people with low income get into homes and not all of them are bad people
sarah March 19, 2012 at 06:12 PM
No one is trying to make anyone feel unwelcome the point is its already to crowded in elkridge, this is a small city so putting all these new communities is just changing Elkridge. Now this is no longer the tight knit city it used to be, its crazy because alot of the people that have lived here for years could never afford to move into any of the new homes or even existing homes that are way over priced. I would like elkridge to stay the way it is now! no more building!
Frank in Elkridge March 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM
If you drove by the area where the apartments are being built, it's pretty obvious that the only thing that can realistically be built there is apartments. No developer would try to build commercial there. Developers who paid top dollar for land have rights too, whether we like it or not. It would be illegal to deny them the right to build apartments on land that is appropriately zoned for it. It is also unrealistic to zone land for commercial when it is plainly not appropriate for it.
JH March 21, 2012 at 08:54 PM
More cheap apartments and all the urban problems that go along with them. What leaders are standing up for current residents in the area? None.
Mike A. March 22, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Is $1500 and up a month cheap?? Seems like alot to me. These will be upscale apartments.... Similar to those by Arundel Mills and Columbia Mall and the Library. Same style and layout from what I can see.

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