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Developer Revises Eva Mar Plan, Says 'We Are Listening'

Presbyterian Home said it planned a second public meeting about its proposed retirement community project off North Fountain Green Road.

More than 300 people showed up for the Jan. 6 meeting about the development proposed off MD Route 543. (Credit: Elizabeth Janney)
More than 300 people showed up for the Jan. 6 meeting about the development proposed off MD Route 543. (Credit: Elizabeth Janney)

Development plans for Eva Mar have been "reversed," project leaders said Wednesday, in response to feedback from the community.

Dozens of residents concerned about traffic spoke out against the proposal for 301 N. Fountain Green Rd., or Eva Mar, in a public meeting that drew more than 300 people last month.

The original plan was for faith-based nonprofit Presbyterian Home to construct a retirement community in the northern 58.5 acres of the site, while developer Elm Street would build single-family homes on 94 acres to the south.

"At the urging of residents who live in that area and attended the community input meeting on Jan. 6, Presbyterian Home has reversed the site layout," Presbyterian Home said in a Feb. 5 statement.

"The original plans called for the [retirement community] to abut several neighborhoods, which led a number of people to voice concerns at the January meeting about the placement of larger buildings near residential areas," the statement said.

Presbyterian Home said it would move the retirement community closer to MD Route 543.

The retirement community would keep more than 60 percent of the lot it has under contract as green space, including walking paths and a playground open to the public, the statement said.

"We want the residents of Harford County to know that Presbyterian Home is listening," Presbyterian Home President and CEO Susan Shea said in the statement.

"The redrafting of the site was not imposed by the county. It was our decision to give up nearly 10 acres of land so that the revised layout would better suit our neighbors," Shea said.

Shea said she would be meeting with local groups as part of an outreach effort and offered her email address: sdshea@presbyterianhomeofmd.org.

A second community input meeting will take place at 6 p.m. on Feb. 24 at Bel Air High School, 100 Heighe St., Bel Air.

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William Onorato February 06, 2014 at 10:12 AM
This story does not give a complete picture of the situation. Yes we are thankful the CCRC has been moved off the property boundaries. But that was just one of the many issues the surrounding residents have with this development. The problems are not solely with the CCRC, a major commercial operation being placed in the middle of residential neighborhoods. There are also 144 single family homes going on to this property in addition to the 514 unit CCRC. Somehow the CCRC and PHM have become the focus and face of this project. Elm St. Development, responsible for the entire project and the 144 single family homes, is also a major player that has largely remained in the background. Clearly this has been intentional from a PR standpoint. After all, how can anyone oppose a benevolent non-profit organization dedicated to senior housing right? Meanwhile the developer responsible for all this stays out of the spot light. A major issue with residents is the density and the amount of traffic this project as a whole will generate (in excess of 3,000 daily trips on average) that is either routed out onto an already congested Route 543 OR now through two quiet residential neighborhoods. Keep in mind that this property is zoned R1 for low density residential. The developer for this property is simply trying to jam as much as possible onto this property with no consideration of the impact this will have on the surrounding community in terms of loss of property value and quality of life. And let's not forget the impact this will have on the environment in terms of the acres of mature woods that will be cleared to make way for the homes. We want to be crystal clear that the opposition to this project is not solely directed to the CCRC and PHM. It is directed to the project as a whole. And further, the opposition is not taking a position against any and all development. The opposition is simply asking for SMART development that enhances the community rather than destroying it. So while we certainly appreciate any efforts on the part of PHM improve the plan, PHM is not the only player in this project. The bottomline is that there is still much to be done to make this project as a whole work for our community. We also need Elm St. to step up and take the lead on improving this proposed development.

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