County Removes Gunview Road Extension from Master Plan
The Baltimore County Planning Board voted on Thursday to permanently remove the road extension from its 10-year development agenda Thursday.
The proposed extension of Gunview Road has finally hit a dead end.
Bowing to years of community opposition against extending the Perry Hall road, the Baltimore County Planning Board on Thursday eliminated the longstanding proposal from the county's Master Plan 2020.
At its Thursday meeting the board approved the draft Master Plan—which governs future growth and development in the county—and sent the revised document to the County Council for final approval.
"This is a huge victory, which we have worked for over the past 10 years," said David Marks, former nine-term president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association and a Republican candidate for the District 5 council seat.
While community association officials have been formally campaigning against the road extension for the past decade, local residents have been aware of the plan since the 1970s. Some described the planned connection as a mini-beltway around Perry Hall.
The extension was supported by Baltimore County officials and housing and business developers. County planning officials said the road could have improved traffic flow and reduced the amount of cars cutting through neighborhood streets.
Gunview Road is located at the end of Klausmier Road, which intersects with the 9500 block of Belair Road, across from the Perry Hall Methodist Church. With just over a half a mile between them, Gunview Road runs somewhat parallel to Belair Road.
Gunview Road's planned extension would have connected several of the streets that extend out of Belair Road in the northwest direction—including Seven Courts Drive, Baker Lane, Kahlston Road and Schroeder Avenue.
The plan would have allowed drivers to access dozens of neighborhoods in the northwest half of Perry Hall without having to travel through the busy two-mile stretch of Belair Road.
Prior to the planning board's meeting, Donnell T. Zeigler, 5th District Community Planner in the Baltimore County Office of Planning, provided Patch with a list of reasons why the county spent more than 40 years supporting the Gunview Road extension.
First, he said, the county was under a specific directive to "plan for interconnecting streets and provide for multiple vehicular access points to communities to avoid concentrating traffic onto the collector system." Second, the extension would have increased mobility and created a network of alternate travel routes. Third, the removal of the planned connection would reduce the county's options in the future. Fourth, it would have reduced the amount of traffic on several side streets throughout Perry Hall. And fifth, it would have only caused minimal damage to the surrounding Gunpowder Falls State Park.
The potential for any damage to the state park became a major rallying cry for community members and the Perry Hall Improvement Association to fight the extension.
In an opinion editorial published in Patch on Sept. 20, the PHIA argued that the extension would not only deplete from a local natural resource, but would also "significantly increase traffic in older and established neighborhoods in northern Perry Hall where many children live."
The organization proposed that instead of extending Gunview Road, the county invest in building pedestrian and bicycle trails along the same route.
The road extension had not been developed in the past because community members lobbied against its funding, said Dennis M. Robinson, Jr., president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association. Now that it has been removed from the master plan, concerns from local residents over its development can finally be laid to rest, Robinson said.
"This result is an excellent example of concerned citizens working together to make a difference in the community," he said. "Children will be safer, established neighborhoods will be preserved, a portion of Gunpowder State Park will be protected from destruction, and overall quality of life will be maintained in neighborhoods in northern Perry Hall."
Following Thursday's vote, Robinson thanked the county planning board, state Sen. Kathy Klausmeier and Delegates Joe Boteler, Eric Bromwell and Todd Schuler, for their joint opposition to the road extension.
"Seeing so many people from the surrounding area take the time to express their concerns definitely resonated with the planning board," Robinson said.