Councilwoman Vicki Almond has taken a precautionary step, filing Chestnut Ridge Country Club as a zoning issue, in light of reports that the club has been sold after shutting down last year because of financial difficulties. Reports of the sale appear on a blog run by the Falls Road Community Association.
The Falls Road Community Association blog reported that Armando Cignarale, president of the Timonium-based developer Cignal Corp., has purchased the property. Cignarale could not be reached, despite multiple messages attempting to confirm the purchase.
While Almond said she could not confirm the sale, the measures she took are meant to address issues that could arise if the land changes hands.
The “240 sprawling acres,” according to the club’s website, can now be scrutinized by community members and vetted by the planning board and the County Council.
“I put it into the zoning process for discussion ... and to see what the plans were for it, what people wanted to do, how the community felt, which I pretty much think I know how they feel,” Almond said. “I know that the surrounding community would like it to be the same—a golf club—or they would like the same type of homes that are in the area already—single family, pretty expensive homes.”
Almond said she does not have confirmation of a sale.
“I can’t confirm that, but that’s what I’ve heard. Again, I haven’t heard from them directly,” Almond told Patch. “I believe that’s the case, but I don’t know 100 percent.”
Overcrowding and traffic issues as well as environmental impact are at the forefront of the neighborhood’s concerns, according to an excerpt from the community association's blog.
“Imagine if there were even another 100 households added to our community,” the community blog said. “How long would it take to drive from the traffic light at Broadway/Padonia and Falls to the Beltway at 8 am on a weekday? What might it be like to drive from that same intersection east on Padonia to York Road during the evening rush hour?
Consider the devastating impact to the streams, fish, and the rest of the environment from numerous construction sites exposing bare earth and dumping silt into the streams. How much sediment will flow down those steep slopes and straight into Dipping Pond Run to the Jones Falls to the Harbor to the Bay?”
The association writes that it hopes the land will be preserved to accommodate more open space while giving the developers a chance to build.
"It is the position of many of the community residents and therefore, that of the FRCA, that changing the zoning designation to RC6 is necessary to maintain the existing character and livability of the community," the blog reads.
RC6 designation, which stands for rural conservation and residential, places further restrictions on developers than the current RC5 zoning that currently exists at Chestnut Ridge.
"As stated in the Citizens Guide to Planning and Zoning, in the Introduction, Rural Zones section, 3% of the county is zoned RC6, as of 2006, which certainly provides considerable opportunities for developers to conduct their business in the locations in the county so designated for growth and development," the blog continues.
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Correction: Councilwoman Vicki Almond's name was spelled incorrectly in an earlier draft of this story. Patch regrets the error.