On Tuesday, August 28, the Baltimore County Council adopted my rezoning recommendations in the Fifth District. The recommendations lower the future development potential of 417 acres. Of the acreage that changed during the rezoning cycle, 95 percent was lowered in development potential, which means fewer new homes throughout the Fifth District.
Some of these changes were opposed by developers and landowners, but it is critical for Baltimore County to anticipate the future growth that could occur on undeveloped land.
In Towson and Loch Raven, we lightened the impact of future development on 67 acres, the largest change ever adopted in this area. Some of the rezoning affects community parks and a city-owned reservoir, but the most substantial rezoning affected the Mount Pleasant Golf Course. The old zoning allowed hundreds of apartments or townhouses to be built at the Mount Pleasant Golf Course if the city ever sold the property for development. The new zoning prohibits any new development by designating the 38 acres as open space.
The county has poured millions of dollars into Towson’s schools, which are overcrowded largely due to demographic changes. I don’t want overdevelopment making the situation even worse.
In Carney and Parkville, we downzoned 87 acres, including 67 acres in the Cromwell Valley. I also recommended downzoning undeveloped properties near Northwind Road and Magledt Road. By lightening the zoning, we prevented the impact of growth on Carney and Harford Hills Elementary Schools, Pine Grove Middle School, and Loch Raven High School.
The Council downzoned 263 acres in the Perry Hall area,. This is one of the biggest chunks of undeveloped land in Perry Hall. I believe that without the rezoning change, builders would have proceeded with plans to erect dozens of new homes here over the next two decade, maybe even sooner.
I have advocated for more and better schools for the past 15 years, both as President of the Perry Hall Improvement Association and as President of the school system’s Northeast Educational Advisory Council. In my mind, the county should unquestionably have purchased land for new schools when money was more plentiful. During these tight times, our options are more limited.
Recognizing these limitations, I used my power as a County Councilman to reshape the zoning in the Fifth District to make sure that future development has a lighter and better impact on our schools.