The developers of Timberlawn in Montgomery County have agreed to purchase two homes in the partially completed subdivision in order to place a primary road between them, county planners said this week.
The road, which will link the as-yet-undeveloped section of Timberlawn to Edson Lane, was the final stumbling block that developers faced in seeking approval for the project from the county planning board, according to one planner.
The board had rejected plans by the developer earlier this year to put a primary road between the two houses because the existing right-of-way is for a much smaller street.
The developers then proposed to build a wide primary road up to the property lines of the two houses, which are occupied, and then narrow the road as it passed between them. The board also rejected that plan.
Timberlawn, originally billed as a toney single-family enclave, changed direction several years ago when U.S. Home Corp. of Houston announced it planned to develop the remaining 90 acres with town houses, angering the residents who had already purchased 30 completed homes that sold for more than $200,000 each.
After almost a year of negotiations, the current residents agreed to withdraw their opposition to U.S. Home's plans in exchange for a buffer zone and the promise that the road leading into their community would be a dead end. Another road was to be built outside of the established community that would link the 90-acre town house development to Edson Lane.
However, U.S. Home submitted final plans to the board earlier this year that showed the last several hundred yards of the new road weaving back into the established community, between the two occupied houses, said Charles Loehr, of the county planning staff.
U.S. Home lawyers said the configuration of the overall property, which has only a small frontage on Edson Lane, made it necessary to loop part of the new primary road between the two homes.
"That was considered unacceptable by the board because the right-of-way between the two houses was not for a primary road, it was originally for a cul-de-sac," said Loehr.
Board members said they approved of all of the developer's plans but the roadway, and voted to deny the project.
Loehr said U.S. Home lawyers told the planning board last week that they had contracted to purchase the two homes and would widen the right-of-way to accommodate a primary road. In turn, the board voted to reconsider its decision to deny the remaining portion of the Timberlawn development, which is south of Rockville near the White Flint Metro station.
Spokesmen for U.S. Home's Maryland division were out of town and unavailable for comment. Loehr said he was not sure how much the company will pay for the houses or whether it will resell them with smaller lots.