I am happy to inform you that last night, the Baltimore County Council passed historic legislation that creates the first open space zoning overlay, which is called "Neighborhood Commons."
Thanks to this legislation, County Council members can designate—during the quadrennial rezoning process—certain properties that are protected from any future development. The overlay may be applied to (1) land owned by a nonprofit group such as Baltimore County NeighborSpace; (2) open space identified in an approved development plan; (3) common areas owned by homeowners associations; and (4) environmentally-sensitive or passive land owned by the state of Maryland or other local governments in Baltimore County, such as reservoirs owned by Baltimore City.
There are a number of issues raised in the 5th district during this year's rezoning process where I intend to apply the Neighborhood Commons overlay. The overlay can be applied on properties in Towson, Parkville, and Perry Hall.
As a principal sponsor of this bill, I would like to thank the many groups that testified in support. Over the past 15 months, the County Council has passed a number of reforms to the zoning and development process, but I am most proud of this long-overdue legislation.