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Group Rejects Lifting of Two Rivers Age Restriction

The Forks of the Patuxent Improvement Association voted to keep the Preserve at Two Rivers Development a 55-and-over community.

A community association in southern Odenton has rejected a proposal to lift the age restriction on the Preserve at Two Rivers project, throwing a wrench in developers' plans to build more than 2,000 homes.

The Forks of the Patuxent Improvement Association voted to keep in place covenant agreements that restricted the Two Rivers project to residents aged 55 and over. Koch Homes and Classic Communities Corp. had been seeking to lift the age restriction, citing market conditions. 

"The Two Rivers Development team and the association worked very hard to negotiate terms that would mitigate issues that would affect the community," FOTPIA President Sue Meyer said. "After several general membership meetings, the majority of the FOTPIA members felt the original covenants from 2006 should remain in place."

Meyer said the vote was "not a landslide" but that the community made clear it was not interested in changing its previous agreement with the Two Rivers developers. 

The Preserve at Two Rivers was originally approved for 2,060 homes, designed for people aged 55 and above. But the developers said recently that the market for age-restricted housing had softened, and have been seeking to open up the project for residents of all ages. 

Now that FOTPIA has rejected efforts to change covenant agreements on the property, the status of the project is uncertain. According to the 2006 agreement, developers could still be allowed to build an all-ages development, but "would be limited to those uses permitted in a [rural agricultural] zoning district."

Current "RA" zoning allows for approximately one home for every 20 acres, which is considerably less dense than the current plan.

William Dodd, a director of development for Koch Homes, declined to comment. Attorney Eric DeVito, who represented the developers in their negotiations with FOTPIA, did not return a call requesting comment. 

Also unclear is the status of a proposal by the developers to pay for a $38.2 million elementary school to accommodate students from the Two Rivers project and other nearby developments. If the age restriction on Two Rivers remains in place, the development would presumably not introduce new students into the area.

The Anne Arundel County Board of Education on Sept. 5 voted to allow school system officials to negotiate with the developers on a construction agreement for the school. 

Alex Szachnowicz, the chief operating officer for Anne Arundel County Public Schools, said he had not been informed of the FOTPIA decision and had not been involved in any talks regarding the school project in more than two weeks. 

Attorney Michael Leahy, who represented the developers in their talks with the school system, also said there have been few discussions since the board vote. He declined to speculate on how the FOTPIA vote would affect the school proposal. 

local resident September 28, 2012 at 11:34 PM
Times change, you have to move forward, adapt and make the best of a situation. Given our proximately to the Ft. Meade-DC area it is quite safe to say that we are no longer a rural community.
Dave September 30, 2012 at 12:59 AM
If Two Rivers goes forward, it will help the landfill by funding the required road improvements. The people moving into Two Rivers won't have enough time to stop the landfill - that needs to be done with policy.
Anonymous October 01, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Now it appears one of two things will happen: 1) Two Rivers petitions the County for approval to proceed and the Forks of the Patuxent residents can testify/Two Rivers takes the covenant issue to court; 2) Since Two Rivers cannot immediately proceed and since no one will underwrite a loan for them to build on a pre-real estate collapse set of covenants, they auction the property and there is a new/clean slate. Most concerning is the latter; with the Two Rivers community, we knew what we were getting. If the property is auctioned/sold - we have no idea what will be placed on the property. The Forks of the Patuxent Improvement Association (FOTPIA) turned down over $3M in community improvements by Two Rivers and a new school and road. Plus the quarterly $5,000 Two Rivers has been providing the community is now in jeopardy. You have to ask yourself why Two Rivers would continue that pay-off when they can not legally build on their land; I wouldn't. And the other member payoffs are now off the table such as Wendy Cozzone's new barn (see article in Capital Gazette). The community didn't think this through; there was insufficient transparency of the meetings between the FOTPIA and Two Rivers resulting in the residents trying to understand the totality of the issue in too short a period. The lack of transparency also prevented the community from understanding the second and third order effects of their vote. Too little information provided too late. A shame and a loss for all.
Dave October 08, 2012 at 09:13 PM
What could threaten this community more than a plan to build 2000+ homes next to a massive landfill? Don't forget, this land is zoned R-20, and any developer who is willing to sell 20 acre lots for residential homes is free to do so. Why is it automatically assumed that development means extremely dense townhomes and condos sitting in a swamp?
Jack Gumtow October 21, 2012 at 12:18 PM
Interesting comment Dave. Frankly, Two Rivers already has approval to build a 2000+ community - the issue is that it is an age restricted community. Nonetheless, if they opt to build, you can expect an appropriate increase in traffic and residents, regardless of whether it is age restricted or not.

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