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Council Limits Development in 263 Perry Hall Acres

County Councilman David Marks has advocated extensive downzoning in the Fifth District.

The County Council voted on Tuesday to limit the potential for new residential structures—including apartment complexes, town homes and single-family homes—in several Perry Hall neighborhoods.

announced that a total of 417 acres had been in the Fifth District, which extends from Towson to Kingsville. Rezoning most impacted Marks' home area of Perry Hall, with limitations placed on 263 acres, including 72 acres zoned as .

Track Patch's coverage on the Perry Hall Development page.

Find the approved bill, a log, map and list of approved Fifth District issues in the gallery.

The Tuesday vote marked a conclusive milestone in Baltimore County's , which allows officials and community leaders to evaluate the development needs in land swaths every four years.

Issues considered for rezoning were first submitted between September and November 2011, and all property owners were notified of proposed changes over the past year. A series of were held, and the Office of Planning and the Planning Board submitted opinions.

Marks' motivation during the process, he repeatedly said, was to preserve sensitive areas and lessen the stress on Perry Hall's roads and schools. Several areas that once allowed up to 5.5 homes per acre now will allow only one home per acre.

In opposition, some community members and public officials argued that downzoning needlessly devalues land at the expense of the property owner.

"I am very proud of this rezoning process," Marks stated. "Development will still occur in targeted areas, and landowners will still have the ability to sell their property for profit—but we have lightened the impact of growth on our schools, roads, and infrastructure, and we have preserved more green space in our neighborhoods."

Marks emphasized that the downzoned areas included "environmentally-sensitive land southwest of Perry Hall High School, along the East Joppa Road corridor, and north of Seven Oaks Elementary School."

Extensive downzoning also impacted 87 acres in the Carney and Parkville communities, Marks stated, including 67 acres in the Cromwell Valley and more than 47 acres of open space.

Marks said his support for upzoning some commercial areas in the Fifth District was marginal.

"On a few occasions, I supported some commercial zoning changes to help businesses or to advance infrastructure improvements that cannot be paid for entirely by Baltimore County—but these increases in zoning only constituted five percent of all the changes in the Fifth District, when measured by acreage," he said.

Marks first announced plans to curb Perry Hall development in . Nearly all of the areas he initially intended to downzone reached final approval by the County Council.

Midway through the process, Marks also gained approval for a new zoning designation, "," commonly called open space, which prevents virtually any new development.

Downzoning proposals largely received the support of the and several homeowners' associations. Community members also used Patch to show their support in , and .

The bulk of resistance to downzoning stemmed from community members and public officials who argued that downzoning by lowering the land's market value. Property owners are not compensated when their land is downzoned.

"America’s founders understood clearly that private property is the
foundation not only of prosperity but of freedom itself. Thus, through the
common law, state law, and the Constitution they protected property
rights—the rights of people to freely acquire, use, and dispose of property," Perry Hall resident Steve Redmer stated on Patch.

"By de-zoning a property, the government is taking away the 'use' of that property without consent or compensation, and thus is against everything the founder's stood for," Redmer stated.

The Baltimore County Office of Planning also plans to downzone county-owned lands—even in cases where no future development is planned—because it lowers its resale and swap value 

"It devalues the property," said Donnell Zeigler, the Fifth District's community planner. "For the most part, the county rarely sells property. Even if it does, it must go through a long process with the county executive and County Council ... it's still protected."

Opponents of downzoning in Perry Hall, however, did not actively organize against an approving vote.

Few impacted property owners even contacted Marks' office after they were notified of rezoning proposals, according to Marks and property owners contacted by Patch.

Marks repeatedly expressed confidence that all of the rezoning proposals he supported would gain approval by the County Council—a confidence justified after Tuesday's vote.

Do you agree or disagree with extensive downzoning in Perry Hall? Tell us in the comments.

Gregg Roberts September 02, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Here is who owns the land: Zoning Issue Acreage Location Owners 5-056 37 Within the Tremper Farms and Northgate Hall communities and bordering the Maryland State Fish and Game Protective Association along Honeygo Boulevard Northgate Hall Community Association, Chesapeake Homes Incorporated, Baltimore County, Tremper Farms Incorporated, a small piece of unknown ownership 5-038 12 West of Honeygo Boulevard across from the Honeygo Village Center Shopping Center Rita Limited Partnership (same as Chesapeake Realty Partners, which owns Honeygo Village Center) 5-044 6.32 East of the Perry Hall Apartments on Joppa Road before the Hines Road intersection Baltimore Gas and Electric, Perry Hall Associates (same as Perry Hall, LLP, which owns Perry Hall Apartments), Baltimore County At least no private individuals seem to be victims. However, was this done with an understanding with all these companies or are they just to take the lost? Is the County offering to buy the land from them at cost? I don't like unchecked development as much as the next person but people's financial wellbeing -- not being stolen from by the government -- is more important that open spaces. I choose people, not trees.
Big T. September 03, 2012 at 11:35 AM
I would like to inform everyone the all of the land is not owned by large corperations but by working people such as my wife and I. the land next to the Tremper farms developement is privately owned. We pay our taxes and paid for our land,but people want you all to believe that every peice of land is up for sale. This couldn't be further from the true.We only want to have the option ( right) to sell the land in the event of a medical or financial crisis. We have turned down many offers and will continue to do so as long as we are able to. the local politions want everyone to think that they are doing this without anyone being effected by this action. We will lose a major value from this in the future. I would like to thank those involved for trampling on our rights as homeowners and for possibley stop us from having a nest egg for our family.We want everyone to know that there are victims by the actions of others!
Gregg Roberts September 04, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Big T.. Thank you for stepping forward. This is what I was afraid of when I heard this. I urge all hard-working good citizens of Baltimore County to stand up for our neighbors and help preserve them not grass. Open spaces are nice, but not at the price of human misery. This is a fundamental moral issue. People write your politicians and insist that homeowner and property-owner rights be protected. In these difficult economic times we don't need the government making things even worse. Mr. Marks, you post all the time on the Patch but you haven't addressed this issue. Now that you see that average citizens are being adversely affected by this, I am confident you will do what is right.
Big T. September 04, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Thank you Mr. Roberts, we were in contact with Mr. Marks via e-mails but no positive replies. We are not the only ones in his district that is effected by this . Our neighbor's property adjioning ours was also included in this zoning matter. She also has no intention of selling her land. we discussed this matter in detail and knew that we did not have the means to fight this matter in the courts. Mr Marks led everyone to believe that their was no one was upset by this and waited to the last minute to get back to us reguarding the vote on the matter. The issue is not wheather we sell or not, it is the fact that he is trying to tell us what can and can not be done with our property.This is only intended to let everyone know that there is privately owned land in this matter and hopefully this does not happen to other people in the Perry Hall area.
Big T. September 16, 2012 at 11:38 AM
Well it has been over a week now and no contact from the local government on the Downzoning issue. I certainly feel good knowing that the people who represent us are so involved and concerned as to our issues and concerns. Thank you, my local representative.

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