When Carol Monfredo moved into her Rushley Road home about five years ago, she never envisioned her quiet, dead end street becoming the future gateway to a new development.
But that’s what Craftsmen Developers LLC is planning for the 14.6 acres of woods and fields at the end of Monfredo’s street, where the Anne Arundel County-based developer wants to build 34 single family houses. Baltimore County officials have approved the project, saying it abides by all government zoning and environmental regulations.
But the Cromwood Coventry Community Association has hired attorney J. Carroll Holzer to try to stop the development.
At a hearing that started last week in Towson before administrative law Judge Lawrence Stahl—and which is scheduled to continue March 9—Monfredo took the stand to put her opposition on the record.
"The main reason I bought my house is because it is the last house at the end of Rushley—a dead end road,” Monfredo said during the second day of testimony on Friday. "It’s just me and a couple of neighbors down the street and I see them maybe twice a day. Lots of wildlife, lots of quiet, and that’s basically why I bought my home there—it was purchased as a retirement home.”
Monfredo said she is worried that the increase in traffic will not only be dangerous but could jeopardize the value of her home.
"My immediate concern is what my property value is going to be once I have 340 vehicles going across my driveway on a daily basis," Monfredo said, quoting the number of extra daily trips added to the neighborhood in a recent traffic study. "I just want to raise a red flag that I am vehemently opposed to this development.”
Monfredo said her worries include the "dogleg corner" at the intersection of Rushley and Littlewood roads where she said she'd almost been hit by cars before.
On Thursday officials from several county officials instrumental in the development process testified before Stahl that their departments were recommending approval of the development.
On Friday, John Gontrum, the attorney representing Craftsmen Developers, questioned Glen Shaffer, a supervisor with the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability.
Shaffer testified that his agency approved the developer’s plans to protect two areas designated as wetlands. A third area that some residents believe should be protected does not qualify as wetlands.
Holzer said he would question Shaffer at the March 9 hearing because there was not enough time on Friday.
Holzer did question Gontrum's first witness, Stacy McArthur, a landscape architect with engineering firm DS Thaler & Associations.
He asked McArthur about how new residents of the 34-home Cromwell Ridge development would access the proposed neighborhood. McArthur said residents could potentially use Littlewood Road, Jennifer Road or Oakleigh Road to get to the new homes.
"Have you ever gone east along Cromwell [Bridge] Road and tried to make a right onto Oakleigh?" Holzer asked, drawing laughter from community members.
Holzer asked how many students were projected to attend public schools as a result of the new homes.
McArthur said that using a Baltimore County Public Schools formula there will be 11 students in grades K-12: Five in elementary school, three in middle school and three in high school. McArthur had previously testified that the schools that would serve the proposed development were under capacity and could accommodate the new students.
"So you have 34 units with four bedrooms each," Holzer said. "Do you have any opinion on the formula that was used?"
McArthur didn't comment.
Holzer also asked McArthur about any potential blasting to be done on the site of the proposed development to create the grade necessary to build.
McArthur said that no one at DS Thaler had investigated the subject.