Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Clarksburg’s Tapestry development is for sale

But with no potential buyers in sight, owner files site plan and asks for county approvals

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The developer of Tapestry in Clarksburg has put the development up for sale and residents are worried because they are unsure how that will affect its construction.

Chuck Ellison, vice president of Miller and Smith, said Tapestry was put on the market about 45 days ago. The sale of the property is not a certainty because he has not received an offer from any interested parties, he said.

‘‘If we don’t receive an offer by this fall, we will proceed to develop it,” Ellison said Tuesday.

In the meantime, the county Planning Board will review the preliminary plan for Tapestry on Thursday and planning staff is recommending approval. The final site plan is scheduled to go before the board in September.

Bill Roberts, manager of Maryland Land Development for Miller and Smith at Tapestry, would not disclose the asking price or say why the property is up for sale in a phone interview Friday.

Tapestry is located near the intersection of Frederick and West Old Baltimore roads. Plans for the development include 78 homes — 66 single-family homes and 12 moderately priced homes built to look like single-family homes.

The 35-acre property is located within the Clarksburg Special Protection Area. The site includes streams, wetlands and environmental buffers.

All of the homes will face a public right-of-way, but many of them will be accessed from the rear by private alleys. The county Fire and Rescue Service has checked that emergency equipment can access all of the homes, according to the planning staff report.

Clarksburg residents expressed their concerns over the proposed plans for Tapestry during a community meeting last month, saying too many houses are crammed into the development and they are worried about how the development will affect traffic in the area.

Kathie Hulley, president of the Clarksburg Civic Association, said she fears the congested nature of development might encourage a shoddy builder to come in to construct the community.

Tapestry is zoned for two houses per acre, but the developer is planning to use the cluster option to build homes on lots that are smaller than 20,000 square feet required by the zone in an effort to preserve more forested area. The single-family homes within the development will be built on lots that range from 5,000 to nearly 10,000 square feet, according to Nellie Maskal, Clarksburg planner for the Planning Board.

The developer also received a 15 percent density bonus for adding the moderately priced homes. This brings the development’s density to 2.4 houses per acre.

The 1994 Clarksburg Master Plan recommends two to four houses per acre for the parcel that includes Tapestry, Maskal said. The pre-preliminary plan for Tapestry was approved in 2004.

The civic association has trouble responding to the news that the development will be sold, Hulley said.

‘‘We don’t know how to take that,” she said Monday. ‘‘It is another uncertainty. Obviously, Miller and Smith want to get the approval before they sell it because it increases the value of the property.”

Ellison said he wants to assure residents that the site plan is a binding plan and a possible new owner would not be able to change the nature of the development without public process.