Council Approves Design Requirements for 'Downtown Perry Hall'

Marks: "The goal is to enhance the design and attractiveness of new buildings in Perry Hall."

UPDATE (8 p.m.)—The Baltimore County Council has approved a bill requiring all new nonresidential development plans in Perry Hall's designated revitalization zone to be reviewed by a Design Review Panel.

"I am pleased to inform you that the Baltimore County Council passed legislation tonight that will hopefully improve the design and attractiveness of new buildings in Perry Hall," , a Perry Hall Republican, announced by email following the council's Monday evening vote.

"Minor changes and facade improvements to existing buildings are not subject to review," Marks stated in the email. "I believe this legislation will result in better-designed buildings in the heart of Perry Hall, and was pleased to sponsor this bill."

The Perry Hall Commercial Revitalization District, approved in May 2011, includes all of the Perry Hall Square shopping center. It extends along Belair Road, from Blakeley Avenue in the south to Minte Drive in the north. It also includes Joppa Road, between Seven Courts Drive and Belair Road, as well as Ebenezer Road, from Belair Road to Yvonne Avenue.

"The goal is to enhance the design and ," Marks said during a July 31 council work session.

The panel, created in 1993, acts in a consulting capacity and makes recommendations to the county's administrative law judges. Arbutus, Catonsville, Essex, Pikesville and parts of Towson are currently subject to panel review.

Marks' bill was supported by the Perry Hall Improvement Association. He held a about the possible impact of design requirements on the "Downtown Perry Hall" area in July. No one in attendance at the meeting opposed the plan.

The bill will take effect on Aug. 20 with the signature of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

Editor Emily Kimball contributed to this report.

Stephanie Vecchioni August 06, 2012 at 06:09 PM
In excited for a change and new and different businesses!
FIFA August 06, 2012 at 11:58 PM
Great care needs to be taken because if design guidelines are onerous, business will not come.
Mike Pierce August 07, 2012 at 01:50 AM
FIFA, quite the opposite. If design guidelines are strict and reasonable (only someone against order and neatness would refer to them as "onerous"), then good businesses will flock to the area. It's the bad, undesirable ones that will not come. Good riddance! Bet you haven't even looked at what the proposed guidelines are.
David Marks August 07, 2012 at 12:46 PM
FIFA, three points. First, communities such as Catonsville have had this requirement for years, and they are filling up with new businesses. Second, I held a community meeting to answer any questions about the legislation, and not one business owner complained. Third, the legislation simply adds one step in the review process - and it does not affect businesses that want to make minor changes or facade improvements. That one step seems minor considering that the community will have to live with the buildings for 30 or 40 years.
FIFA August 07, 2012 at 02:11 PM
That just might be the sign police who doesn't like signs writing a post. I have read the "guidelines" and as always worry when government dictates how something must look. They always do so from a vacuum without any consideration for economics. If it is not economically feasible, it will remain empty. Councilman Marks, your intentions are good. I just worry about the result of good intentions sometimes.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 04:26 PM
.. so where's the bill that improves safety in school zones, with traffic lights, crosswalks and crossing guards instead of useless speed cameras? Perry Hall is already attractive. Get rid of the Walmart's and the BJ's and watch small businesses pour into the area. Those places are the real problem that are driving business away. The appearance of Perry Hall is fine. If it looks good, it must be good, right? Spoken like a true politician. :) The government is completely out of touch with the public and this, once again, proves it. I would like to know what other factors (because I know there were others) contributed to Catonsville filling up with businesses and what kind of businesses are they? Superstore chains? Just curious.
Brittany August 07, 2012 at 04:35 PM
I think this is a great idea. Aesthetics can go a long way. When an area is not aesthetically pleasing, people tend to treat it with disrespect. If the area looks nice and like people care about it, this can be contageous. I agree with trying to make things look nicer, esp if we look at them everyday for the next X amount of years. Anything attempting to make a positive change is okay in my book.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 04:45 PM
What about Perry Hall doesn't have good appearance? This is a beautiful town with a perfect distribution of trees and business. Parkville is another story as is Baltimore City. I don't understand the obsession with appearance especially in a place where appearance is not a problem. Big business pushing small business out of town is the problem, not aesthetics. Isn't Perry Hall a place people already want to live in? Isn't that why all this downsizing was proposed, or one reason, to make room for some of those people? You want to improve aesthetics? Improve Parkville, Pikesville, Baltimore City.. places like that. I don't understand what's so bad about the appearance of Perry Hall. Is this really such a big issue? There are surely other, more important issues that could be addressed such as what I said about school zone safety since everyone is so concerned about that. Where's the bill requiring the use of the 85th percentile to determine speed limits like the ones doing the traffic studies say it safer for roads? Really? This is the most important thing, huh. Making a small town look better when it already looks fine. Looks are not the problem even though everyone is obsessed with appearance these days. Those Superfresh stores that closed must have looked awful, that must be the reason they're gone now. I just don't get it. It's like people don't know what the problems are and its just like "well, let's just make it look better, that solves everything." Blah, Blah.
David Marks August 07, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Mr. Fisher: in the previous article, and the community meeting that you did not attend, I identified several properties that could benefit from redevelopment: the Poor Little rich Girl site, 8833 Belair Road, and Butt's Hardware.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 05:14 PM
By the way, where is all the "disrespect" towards areas of Perry Hall due to poor appearance? This place already looks nice, what is the point in making improvements in this area if it's not a problem? Waste of money. People sit on here and complain about school zones being unsafe, but do we pass laws for traffic lights, crosswalks, crossing guards and 30mph speed humps? Nooo, must not care too much about the children then since all you want to do is put up speed cameras which save zero lives and improve the safety of school zones by exactly zero. People complain about roads being unsafe, but do we use the studies done by people who study traffic patterns for a living and pass bills to use the 85th percentile to determine speed limits and make them safer? Nooo, no, what's more important is making an already aesthetically pleasing area more aesthetically pleasing which solves nothing, just a waste of money. Politicians are so out of touch with the general public, it blows my mind. Superstores driving small business away? Nooo, not a problem there, just make things "look better" and all will be well and people see this as a solution? To anything?? In some areas, sure, it could certainly improve a lot of things. Is Perry Hall one of those areas? NO! Ugh, I don't understand the world anymore. It's just a bunch of nonsensical crap.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 05:17 PM
What about ALL of Parkville? Any plans to improve that area which looks more like a dump every year? Any plans from anyone to improve the crime infested trash heap known as Baltimore City? I'm sure some places could use improvement, but this issue is really big enough to be top priority? Really?
Mike Pierce August 07, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Why do you keep harping on Baltimore City. The subject here is legislation and improvement in the County, a separate legal entity. Seems to indicate that you don't understand who is responsible for what.
Mike Pierce August 07, 2012 at 05:45 PM
Mike Fisher, I'll tell you what about Perry Hall doesn't have a good appearance. Due to lack of enforcement, Belair Rd is getting trashed with ugly (illegal) signs. There is a reason for laws - they keep an area nice for the benefit of all. Everyone in the Perry Hall area should work hard to prevent Belair Rd from getting to look like much of Liberty Rd, parts of Reisterstown Rd, and Eastern Blvd. If you're okay with that sort of trashy environment, then you would feel right at home in these other places.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Parkville is surely in Baltimore County, is it not? Parkville is surely in desperate need for aesthetic improvement, is it not? Go drive around Parkville, then come to Perry Hall and tell me which area needs more of this kind of attention. I only bring up Baltimore City because I feel, in general, we don't have our priorities straight and by the way, Parkville is on the outskirts of Baltimore City, correct? Still in Baltimore county, though. So long as Parkville continues to degrade, and I know several people from Parkville who I talk to about this, crime from the city that is apparently of no concern to anyone will creep up into this area eventually. The difference between Parkville and Perry Hall is the difference between a Ferrari and a Pinto.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 05:54 PM
"Mike Fisher, I'll tell you what about Perry Hall doesn't have a good appearance. Due to lack of enforcement, Belair Rd is getting trashed with ugly (illegal) signs." Then how about this. Fix the "lack of enforcement" problem and replace the signs. "There is a reason for laws - they keep an area nice for the benefit of all." Except laws don't work when they aren't ENFORCED. So, enforce them. Problem solved. "Everyone in the Perry Hall area should work hard to prevent Belair Rd from getting to look like much of Liberty Rd, parts of Reisterstown Rd, and Eastern Blvd. If you're okay with that sort of trashy environment, then you would feel right at home in these other places." Actually, I hate the city as if you couldn't tell because of how trashy it is. Perry Hall is not even remotely close to those areas. You said it yourself, lack of enforcement is the problem. So, enforce the laws!!! What are cops doing instead? Sitting around with radar guns giving out chicken S tickets. If you aren't going to enforce the laws, then expect no change. No aesthetic change will enforce laws, that's up to law enforcement and obviously, they don't really care enough to enforce them, do they? Do they change defaced signs? Rarely ever. Replace the signs and enforce the laws. You basically just said what the problem is, so get police to enforce the laws. Strange how we have to tell them to enforce these laws, isn't it? Too busy on their fund raising tour for any of this nonsense, I guess.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 05:59 PM
As a matter of fact, why not put all these cameras to good use. Set them up in areas that are often defaced and vandalized such as street signs with graffiti on them so we can CATCH the ones doing it. How about that? That is a good use of cameras. Enforce the laws and if the police aren't going to enforce the laws, then I guess defacing of street signs and so on will continue.
Mike Pierce August 07, 2012 at 08:11 PM
So, because Parkville is worse we should ignore Perry Hall.? Makes no sense.
Mike Pierce August 07, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Well, again, you show your ignorance of the facts. The Police enforce traffic laws. Code Enforcement enforces the laws concerning illegal and trashy signs, The police don't.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Ignore, no. Put it at the top of the priority list? No. Focus more on the worst parts than the better parts? Absolutely... or should we just let Parkville continue to get worse until it starts spilling into places like Perry Hall while we fix up little hardware stores. Parkville needs serious attention, Perry Hall does not, but hardly any attention seems to be focused on Parkville, so why is that?
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Well then, pardon my ignorance, but it doesn't change what I said very much. I stand corrected, have Code Enforcement do it. Why aren't they keeping up with it? They are responsible for the lack of enforcement you pointed out, but why the lack of enforcement? It's their job and they're not doing it, so the situation won't improve until they do. Unenforced laws don't work. Aren't police responsible for vandalism too? Defacing of public property? It's obviously pretty easy to get away with such things since you say it's all over the place. I've seen a few signs that had writing on them. A stop sign that had "War" written under "Stop" which I thought was a pretty cool statement to make. Other than that, 30mph speed limit signs made to look like it says 80 instead. If this problem is so bad, what's code enforcement doing to keep these signs out of the public eye and what are the police doing to stop this kind of vandalism? The police certainly hold some responsibility, don't they? They spend too MUCH time on traffic enforcement.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 09:38 PM
http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/md/parkville/crime/ Showing Parkville has a HIGH rate of crime and is safer than only 15% of the cities in the US. http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/md/perry-hall/crime/ Showing Perry Hall to be safer than 36% of the cities in the US. Now, how much higher do you think that percentage would be if it wasn't right next to Parkville? Chances of becoming a victim in Perry Hall is 1 in 499 while in Parkville, your chances of being a victim are 1 in 144, but we should just let Parkville continue on this path? If you really, honestly think Parkville doesn't drag down Perry Hall, I suggest you rethink on that one hard. Parkville will only get worse, how long before things start to get bad in Perry Hall? Parkville has been going downhill for decades, two at least since I was in middle school. So, yeah, I guess I'm saying right now, Parkville is MUCH more important to start dealing with than messing around with tiny places in Perry Hall. I'm not sure what doesn't make sense about that.
Mike Fisher August 07, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Once you cross Putty Hill Blvd and head down towards Taylor Ave., you're practically in the city outskirts, a city that has been rated as one of the worst, crime infested cities in the country for DECADES... but you don' see the relevance? You still think fixing up little stores in Perry Hall will solve anything? Parkville needs to be dealt with, serious changes to push this crime back before it overflows into Perry Hall anymore than it already has.
FIFA August 07, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Why don't they keep up with it? So easy. They only respond when Mike Pierce calls, he can't be everywhere at once.


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