Friday, February 8, 2013

Introducing the Neighborhood of Bellows Spring

It was thought that there was no real room along Old Stockbridge Drive. It appeared to be built out when driving down the road that parallels Mayfield Avenue and connects Route 108 to Meadowridge Road. Hoever, 10 years ago that changed when Old Stockbridge Drive, which contains several Condo and Town Home Developments built in the mid to late 1980s and through the early 1990s was to be the site of the badly needed new Northeastern Elementary School. At the time, there was an outcry due to the fact that the School is literally a stone's throw away from Waterloo and how could both Schools maintain populations of their own etc. Well that wasn't really a problem as both Schools are bursting at the seams as they await the delivery of ES#41 set to open Next School Year. When looking at how far back Bellows Spring Elementary is set from Old Stockbridge Drive I couldn't help but notice how much additional land is available for development. Why not build the Neighborhood of Bellows Spring?
When turning into the School's driveway from Old Stockbridge, one feels as if they're traveling in time, a time when Eastern Howard County wasn't being built out by suburban style and new urban subdivisions. Be that as it may Bellows Spring still generates a good number of Walkers as Old Stockbridge itself, like I stated before contains several Condo and Town Home developments that yield large numbers of School age Children. One thing that caught my eye is that Old Stockbridge contains no Single Family Detached Housing. Perhaps if the land around Bellows Spring were developed that could be a type of housing used.
Some of the land surrounding Bellows Spring backs up to Route 100, that land in 2003 was zoned POR or Planned Office Research. Given that only 3 million of the planned 14 million square feet of Office Space will be used in Howard and Anne Arundel County, this land is set to be rezoned A-15 which is suited for Apartments and Condos. This particular piece of the Bellows Spring land is accessible via Meadowridge Road opposite Wesley Lane. I happen to agree with the County's and Land Owner's desire to use this for residential uses. If we were to build a Neighborhood of this caliber, it would need a Main Road perhaps a Boulevard?
This is where my idea for Bellows Spring Boulevard comes into play, a good portion of it already exists as the drive way for Bellows Spring Elementary. It would be widened and given a signalized intersection with Old Stockbridge Drive. It would then have a turn off for the Elementary School and continue on where the Schools's Ball Fields currently are. I've never liked how the Ball Fields are positioned in relation to the School, Students have to cross the parking lot to access them. As part of the new development plan, I would have them relocated next to the black top and School Gyms. Bellows Spring Boulevard would then continue past the School and then make a sharp right turn before ending at Meadowridge Road opposite Wesley Lane. 

Now what types of housing should flank this new Bellows Spring Boulveard? Well, I'd like it to respect that existing housing stock by blending like types with one another while at the same time introducing detached Single Family Homes. So lets start at Old Stockbridge. Given that both side streets on either side of the School's driveway which is what would become Bellows Spring Boulevard have Town Homes, I would put Town Homes in the beginning section of Bellows Spring Boulevard. When getting closer to the School, I would introduce Single Family Homes. I would also build a street in between Stockbridge Overlook Court and Maryland School for the Hearing Impaired. These would be duplexes not unlike those found in Stockbridge Overlook. Whether this road connects to Bellows Spring Boulevard or not is a decision I have yet to make. Past the School, and onto the land near Route 100 and Meadowridge Road. One thing I forgot to mention is that only PART of this land will be rezoned from POR to A-15. The A-15 or Apartment zoned land will be further back from Meadowridge Road and the remaining POR land is closer. I would build mixed income Apartments and Condos on the A-15 zoned land and build small scale convenience based Retail with upper floor Offices on that. It would face Meadowridge Road opposite Wesley Lane. 

Well that concludes my proposal for the Neighborhood of Bellows Spring. I hope one day it can become a reality.