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Perry Hall Mansion Downzoning 'Another Layer of Protection'

A proposal to downzone the Perry Hall Mansion property could further protect the property from development.

There are currently no plans to demolish the and replace it with a housing development—its four-acre lot on Meetinghouse Road remains Baltimore County-owned and the structure itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Still, downzoning the property from DR 2 (two houses per acre) to DR 1 (one house per acre) would further protect the area from future development, according to .

Marks first announced his proposal to the Perry Hall Mansion property in , as part of widespread effort to lower the development potential of more than 280 acres of Perry Hall.

He reaffirmed his support this week, associating the mansion's downzoning with his recent efforts to designate more than of Perry Hall property as . The Neighborhood Commons zoning designation would protect those areas from virtually all future development.

"DR 1 is the lowest [the mansion property] can be zoned," he said. "It's not eligible to become open space ... but if at some point, it fell into private hands, this would add another layer of protection to the property."

Following a , Donnell Zeigler of the Baltimore County Office of Planning told Patch that his office did not support the mansion's downzoning. It would needlessly devalue the county's asset, he said. 

The final staff recommendation from the Office of Planning called for the mansion property to remain DR 2. The volunteer citizen advisory , however, is supporting Marks in recommending the property be lowered to DR 1, according to county logs.

Each of the recommendations will be factored into the county's 2012 Comprehensive Zoning Map Process, which reexamines zoning designations every four years. The County Council is scheduled to vote on the final zoning map by Sept. 16.

Marks said he is "very confident" that the County Council will ultimately approve his downzoning proposal.

This is welcome news to representatives of community organizations, who have also publicly supported the mansion's downzoning—including Chris Defeo, the president of the Perry Hall Manor community association; Dennis Robinson, president of the Perry Hall Improvement Association; and Jeffrey Smith, president of the Friends of the Perry Hall Mansion.

Smith said the mansion measure may be "redundant" because the property already has some protections in place. He compared it to "wearing a belt and suspenders."

"But properties like this are few and far between. It doesn't take very long for these things to disappear. The more protection we can give it, the better," he said.

Steve Redmer June 21, 2012 at 03:24 PM
Yeah I kind of figured that was it...Can't open the PDF for some reason. in hindsight, it would have been nice if such a provision could have been written in to protect existing historic structures... Or perhaps a "Deed Restriction" or "Conservation Easement" could be bound to the title of the property... Just some thoughts, they may have already done these things or probably at least discussed them though...
Emily Kimball June 21, 2012 at 03:27 PM
It's a PDF so make sure your Adobe reader is up to date, I've also attached it to the gallery.
Tim June 21, 2012 at 04:08 PM
If it's not up to date, just reboot your PC. Adobe updates occur after 40% of all PC reboots.
Kris June 21, 2012 at 08:24 PM
I feel that the best use of this real estate would be a Walgreens or perhaps a CVS, to truly represent the essence of Perry Hall.
Ktown June 21, 2012 at 10:15 PM
Restore the mansion but keep the grounds from development. This is a critical piece of Perry Hall and Methodist history.

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