A controversial proposal to build 90 town houses in the Tantallon section of southern Prince George's County was dealt a blow yesterday when the County Council sent it back for additional zoning review.

The council indicated that the town houses should be replaced with detached houses, which residents of the area maintain would be more compatible with the area's existing high-priced houses.

Developers were undecided yesterday, however, whether they would redraft plans for the 70-acre parcel, the last large chunk of undeveloped property in Tantallon. The area, between the Potomac and Indian Head Highway south of the Capital Beltway, is one of the county's most affluent communities, with houses selling for about $200,000.

Tantallon residents, who opposed the town house construction because the units would be inconsistent with their "prestige . . .country club community," called the action yesterday a victory, although they said they were disappointed that the council did not officially deny the zoning request.

"These things have a way of rearing their ugly heads again," said Gary R. Alexander, a state delegate and lawyer who is representing the opponents. "If the town house development is dead, we're very pleased."

He said the residents did not object to plans for additional detached houses.

The proposal of the Tantallon Associates partnership of Mariano and Pietro Flaim called for building 30 detached houses as well as the town houses near Fort Washington National Park. The town houses would have faced Swan Creek and sold for prices starting at $150,000, the developers said.

Richard A. Krueger, chairman of the Tantallon Citizens Association's zoning committee, said the organization objected to the town houses because "90 repetitive designs would be inconsistent with the community."

Developers, however, had argued that town houses are easier to sell and said the plans were compatible with the luxury houses in the area.

Council Chairman William Amonett said the vote indicated the council's preference for detached houses over town houses in that community, but said that final council action must still be taken.

The proposal was remanded to the zoning hearing examiner's office. Examiner Richard Romine recommended in January against approval of the zoning change request that would have allowed construction of town houses.