A major developer on Tuesday night moved one step closer to building 239 new apartment units at the corner of Nevada Avenue and Hale Street.
The Odenton Town Center Plan Oversight Committee recommended approval of the project by Novus Residences, calling it a potential linchpin to development in central Odenton.
The project will now go before the county Office of Planning and Zoning, which is charged with granting final approval.
Committee members noted the project is one of the few new projects that far west in the Odenton Town Center and could help spur additional development in the area.
“This end is a key piece,” said Mike Fox, a long-range planner with the county who oversees the Odenton Town Center plan.
The Novus project features a modern architectural look from the front and backs up to wetlands. Developers said they intend to build a walking trail and park, and would build a viewing area to allow residents to view the natural surroundings.
“If you want an urban experience, you can have that,” said Rob Seldon, a member of the development team. “If you want a rural experience, you can have that, too.”
To satisfy requirements for retail on the site, the project will have five live-work units at the street level and will open the community’s fitness center to the public. This proposal renewed an ongoing debate as to whether developers should be required to build more traditional retail, such as shops and restaurants.
Seldon said the location of the project—in a relatively isolated section of Odenton—would not support traditional retail right away.
“If you say to someone, ‘Now, I need to put a store at the end of a dead-end road,' who’s going to say yes to that?” Seldon said.
Committee member Claire Louder, president and CEO of the West Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, agreed.
“We can’t expect people to come in and bet their life that their business is going to succeed on a prairie,” she said. “There’s nothing down there right now.”
Plans for apartments at the Nevada and Hale parcel have gone through several iterations. Previous proposals fell through for a variety of reasons, ranging from a lack of support from the town center committee to confusion over zoning.
The proposal from Novus, however, is further along in the approval process than any previous project. Company officials said they hope to present a final plan to county planners by the end of the year.
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