One of my priorities has been to improve the look and vitality of Perry Hall's commercial district, which is centered on Joppa, Ebenezer, and Belair Roads. In 2011, the County Council passed legislation that established a commercial revitalization district that offers economic incentives to propertyowners. This summer, I submitted—and the County Council approved—legislation that requires new construction to be approved by the Baltimore County Design Review Panel.
On Tuesday, September 4, the Baltimore County Council passed a resolution that specifies the standards for new construction. The resolution amends the Perry Hall Community Plan to say, among other things, that new buildings should be
predominantly designed with brick; that parking should be located along the
sides and rear of any new building; and that pedestrian amenities and landscaping are important elements of new construction.
There are also important protections for surrounding neighborhoods.
For example, the resolution says that "commercial buildings that are located near a residential neighborhood should respect the scale and character of the surrounding neighborhood." Loading docks should be screened, and for fast food restaurants, drive-thru features should be placed in a position that has the least disruption for nearby homes.
If, for example, McDonalds were to be redeveloped, this last point would hopefully provide some added protection for the townhouses along Minte Drive.
The new standards do not affect changes to existing structures. But if new buildings are planned, we are going to have to live with their look for decades to come, so a little more review and thoughtfulness is very important.