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LIVE BLOG: Meeting on Perry Hall's Downtown Standards

New development in Perry Hall's commercial revitalization district would be subject to the Baltimore County Design Review Panel.

Updates were recorded live during the meeting.

Just over five community members attended the community meeting at Perry Hall Elementary, including County Councilman David Marks and State Sen. Kathy Klausmeier.

"We publicized this meeting and we wanted to have something out there ... to gain any comments or questions from merchants ... I also talked about forming a group to perform clean-ups," Marks said.

The commercial revitalization district was formed last year in this area of Perry Hall. Marks said there have been positive developments, including Giant replacing the Superfresh.

Now, Marks says he wants to ensure that new development has quality design.

Area east of Perry Hall diner, Butt's hardware and properties across the street and possibly the McDonald's.

"I just think that if we're going to have new development, it should be done right," he said.

He said the design review panel would not impact minor changes, but just major redevelopment. It would add a step to the redesign process.

One of the members of the panel lives in Perry Hall. Marks said there's no resistance that he knows of.

Klausmeier asked who's on the panel. Marks named some of the members. It is a countywide group.

A meeting attendee said it would give some "connective tissue" to new things in Perry Hall.

A meeting attendee asked if they have the authority to squash a project. Marks said they can set standards.

Marks said he wants to have cleanups along Belair Road. Marks said some weeds are 30 inches tall. He mentioned the grass near the diner.

Klausmeier said she is working on ideas for maintaining the weeds and shrubs on public property. The bushes lining Belair Road near Perry Hall Elementary are on school property but not maintained by the school. The Perry Hall Improvement Association and other groups have tried to maintain it, but it's confusing whose responsibility it is to maintain it. 

Klausmeier said "it's ridiculous, this is supposed to be our beautiful thoroughfare. I would landscape it but I just can't do it all."

Some parents have offered to plant flowers but there are still few people available to maintain it.

Marks said he's looking for 4-5 groups to give 3 people each for maintaining different areas of Perry Hall Elementary.

Klausmeier said we should look to Walmart for donations.

Marks said he'd like to start at Perry Hall Elementary and expand from there.

A meeting attendee said perhaps the Improvement Association could provide funding for weed spray.

"It's a sham this is our destination point and it looks like this," Klausmeier said.

Hiring someone to do the weeding is also a possibility, attendees said. Or maybe a landscaping company could get advertising out of it.

Marks said it's just an issue of lack of resources.

The property around Perry Hall Elementary is school property but schools do not maintain shrubs or flowers or bushes near the Perry Hall welcome sign.

An attendee said it's a work in progress and scout troops should be involved.

Marks praised the "Downtown Perry Hall" logo by Jennifer Franz, calling it "beautiful."

Marks said the downtown Perry Hall design panel would help set standards, but those standards have not been established yet. The panel would not act until a major redevelopment project went before the panel.

The Giant replacing the Superfresh would not be major enough to go before the review panel.

If Butt's Hardware were demolished and replaced, that would be major enough to go before the design panel.

Marks said the panel recommendation could go before County Council in August, and possibly be approved on Aug. 6.

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Check for live updates starting at 5 p.m. on July 11.

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is seeking to change the face of Perry Hall, starting with its so-called "downtown" area.

Marks has introduced legislation that would make new development in Perry Hall's subject to the Baltimore County Design Review Panel, his office announced on Tuesday morning.

A community meeting to discuss the legislation is planned for 5 p.m. on July 11 at at 's library. A logo for the "Downtown" area, designed by Patch blogger and community volunteer , is included in the gallery of this article.

"I am most concerned about larger areas where redevelopment will occur, such as the property, the stores across the street along the 8830 block of Belair Road, and the area east of the . Any redevelopment projects will be with us for 30 or 40 years, so let's do them right," Marks said in a news release.

"Existing businesses that want to modify their appearance or make minor changes will not be affected by this bill," he added.

The revitalization zone, , includes all of the . 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.

Businesses in the zone are already eligible for special financing, free design services and other forms of county assistance.

The Design Review Panel currently evaluates and sets standards for new development in commercial districts in Arbutus, Catonsville, Essex, Pikesville and Towson. Nine design professionals sit on the panel, including architects, landscape architects and engineers, according to Marks.

Marks also plans to organize regular clean-ups of weeds and trash at Belair, Joppa and Ebenezer roads—as part of an ongoing effort to improve the area's appearance.

"Hopefully, these improvements, along with the incentives already available through the commercial revitalization program, will enhance Downtown Perry Hall," he stated.

What would you like to see in Perry Hall's downtown? Tell us in the comments.

Nicole K. August 06, 2012 at 09:16 PM
I'm so thankful that my hometown has such good people representing it. Between Senator Klausmeier and Councilman Marks, I'm confident they will continue to do what is needed to keep Perry Hall a great place to live and be. While I don't live exactly in Perry Hall right now, my family does, and their efforts for beautification and proper land use is very important to me. I applaud their work.

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