Golf Course Built in Harwood


Golf course plan swings through hearing

By E.B. FURGURSON III, Staff Writer - The Capital


Albert Lord took another step toward his dream of a private 18-hole golf course in Harwood this week.

A Maryland Department of the Environment hearing held at Southern High School on Tuesday will likely lead to a go-ahead to disturb wetlands and floodplains, and extract water from a local aquifer, on the 248 acres he bought in 2004.

Mr. Lord, chairman of the board of Sallie Mae the college loan conglomerate, reiterated his desire to be a good neighbor.

"I want these streams to leave my property cleaner than they came in," he said. "There will be less runoff than there is today."

Residents' greatest concern was the potential impact on their wells when the golf course starts pumping an average of up to 150,000 gallons a day to water its greens and other flora. No one spoke against issuing the permit.

Just over two dozen people showed up for the hearing, less than the turnout for a meeting earlier this year.

But Mark Williams of Earth Data, the company hired to perform well and aquifer tests, explained the vast majority of water used will be pumped from the Magothy aquifer, which sits deeper than 86 percent of the wells in the area that either tap into groundwater or the Aquia aquifer.

"This should have no impact on these wells," he said. And little impact on any wells also in the Magothy aquifer.

The plan to carve 18 holes out of what were three farms includes creating a pond that will both serve as a stormwater management and irrigation source. Wetlands will be created on the periphery of the pond.

About 140 acres of the property will be disturbed during course construction including some 1,850 cubic yards of flood plain. Replanting for fairways, greens, and the like will stabilize 138 acres, the remainder secured by walls or paths.

Unrelated to the hearing on water issues were other questions about Mr. Lord's plans. The large color plans hung from an easel and laid on a table in the school's media center, denoted cottages and a large manor house that will serve as a club house.

Residents questioned the number of cottages that will be built. Mr. Lord said three but the way the buildings were depicted led people to believe there are six.

Robert Morrell of Lionheart Consulting which is overseeing the project, said the other building have not been designed yet. But tentative plans call for three "cottage" buildings made up of two "pods" with four bedrooms each. The two sleeping pods would be connected by a common space with a living room, dry bar and the like. Each pod is likely to be about 1,600 square feet, he said.

The manor house is more amorphous. Looking at the scale on the drawings it looks like a large center structure with two wings is in the works stretching about 300 feet wide in total. But like Mr. Morrell said the design has not been done yet and plans for the buildings have not been submitted to the county for approval.

The grading operation to create the course will cost over $5 million according to the application filed with the county in May.

Mr. Lord in currently renovating a historic farmhouse on the property. MDE will keep the record open until July 25 for anyone wanting to submit written comment on the plan.

The agency will decide whether to issue, modify or deny the applications for the project by Aug. 24.

Published 07/14/06, Copyright 2006 The Capital, Annapolis, Md.