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VIDEO: 'Poor Little Rich Girl' Activist Discouraged, Expecting Demolition

Mark Patro organized a lightly attended protest Wednesday evening to oppose a Perry Hall house's demolition on Belair Road.

Standing alone along Belair Road Wednesday evening, Mark Patro said he had hoped more community members cared about the impending demolition of the former Poor Little Rich Girl bridal shop. 

Patch reported the planned tear-down of the structure at 9010 Belair Rd. on Monday, a joint effort by County Councilman David Marks and property manager George Perdikakes. 

Perdikakes called the house "ugly" and an "eyesore," and said its demolition is in direct response to requests from Marks and several community members. The tear-down, which includes asbestos removal, will likely cost around $25,000, he said.

Patro, outraged by the plans for demolition and citing the century-old structure's historical significance, planned a protest with Light Brigade Maryland on Wednesday evening. Eventually he was joined by three demonstrators, who left a lit sign reading "Save This House" near the entrance. 

Marks announced on Tuesday that the demolition would be postponed at least two weeks to allow for a possible buyer of the structure. 

But Patro said he was discouraged by the protest and does not expect the house to be saved from demolition. 

"When you do something like this, you always hope that more people care," he said.

"Do I expect it to be saved? No, not at all," he added. 

Marks, in a statement, urged community members to instead focus their attention on restoring the Perry Hall Mansion, built by Perry Hall's founder in the 1770s. 

"Any historical significance associated with this structure pales in comparison to the heritage of the Perry Hall Mansion. That is a far more worthy project which could sure use the time, attention, and money of civic-minded residents," he stated.

But Patro said he believes in saving structures owned by the common people of Perry Hall, as well as the rich.

"Yeah, there was a man who built the Perry Hall Mansion, and he was a rather wealthy man with a lot of influence, and he built a big house. But there weren't many of those houses in the neighborhood. There were more of these kind of houses in this neighborhood," he said. 

Mark Patro December 07, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Several people attended, but many more made this into a community discussion. For that I am grateful.
Joyce M. Kipp December 07, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I'm proud of you for standing up for your beliefs, and convictions:-) You go Mark!! Proud to be called your friend!!!
Honeygo Hal December 07, 2012 at 02:38 PM
PHP - as I understand it, filling prescriptions are a highly profitable business, so the pharmacies want to be at the top of that heap. They can pad their profits by adding convenience-store items, or even groceries. My wife does most of the shopping, so she likes Giant for the same reasons as you. Most of the time I only need to pick up a prescription which would take me longer at Giant. That said, CVS does usually get a little extra business from me when I go. For communities where the population is aging (true for Perry Hall), the pharmacies see a gold mine in prescription sales. Bottom line - it's all about the bottom line.
John Doe December 07, 2012 at 02:54 PM
"it is now a dilapidated structure that could become dangerous if not dealt with and it's just too late" - sounds like the Perry Hall area from all the comments people have posted over the last 6-12 months - should we give up on Perry Hall? NO! Mark, I am sorry I wasn't there - my kids have the GI virus.
Gary Staab December 07, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Mark, I too applaud your efforts. I wanted to attend but was unable. I heard last night that the diner has been sold and a Wawa Mega gas station is planned for the corner. Anyone know of this plan? That might explain the opposition to save Poor Little Rich Girl. I think this project has been long in it's planning and that's why the owners refused to maintain the property. Is that what you all want? Those who want the house torn down? Do we need another gas station. I think that would be just as unsightly as the poor little house. Mr, Marks, could this be the real reason you oppose saving Poor Little Rich Girl? Bigger plans for those who need tax right offs. That house just needs some TLC. Look beyond the peeling paint and the old porch and there is a gem. We live in a dispossable society. Get rid of everything old.
Paul Amirault December 07, 2012 at 03:26 PM
If you believe that Wawa (if it even is happening that is the first I have heard of it) builds stores for tax "right" offs (presume you meant "write-offs") I believe you are sadly misinformed as to why business expands their operations.
Honeygo Hal December 07, 2012 at 03:48 PM
That corner doesn't seem like a good location for a gas station - no access from eastbound Joppa Rd. and difficult access from northbound Belair Rd. I know Wawa and Royal Farms depend on their store sales heavily as well as gas sales, but that doesn't seem to be a good fit. Add in that the diner seems to draw a nice size crowd - why would they be interested in selling?
Steve Redmer December 07, 2012 at 05:10 PM
I find it ironic that he pictures this as a "Main Street" area....as the huge volume of traffic driving by is more reminiscent of a highway...
John Doe December 07, 2012 at 05:21 PM
If that (Wawa) is true, then our 'downtown' anchor would be 3 gas stations and a 7-11. I understand business is business, so please don't educate me on this. But, I don't understand this 'downtown' revitalization process. Is it about filling vacancies? Is it about making it a true downtown where it is meant for people to walk from business to business? Having lived in 5 city downtown areas in 3 different states, we should stop calling this the 'downtown' revitalization process - not even close.
David Marks December 07, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Mr. Staab, if I was only interested in development, I wouldn't have downzoned 263 acres in Perry Hall. More acreage was lowered in development intensity in Perry Hall than in any other community - and don't think landowners and developers didn't notice. You may not have, but they sure did.
Steve Redmer December 07, 2012 at 05:42 PM
I cannot imagine Belair rd EVER being a "Walk from business to business" type of area...this is a MAJOR roadway...Gas stations and Convenience stores thrive because us residents frequent them for their accessibility and convenience... We are not a sleepy little town, and haven't been for some time now.... It's time for this area to get up to speed....the Belair Rd corridor is a stretch of outdated businesses and deteriorating structures...due in part to the fact that people don't want to lose the old small town charm....personally I don't find charm in run down houses being used as commercial units....but that's just me.... That being said, I wish we could have preserved a lot of the historic structures along belair rd...but they are all but gone now and they are not coming back... seems to me that most people want to save this house, simply because it's old, not because of it's historic value or importance... and I think that is a mistake.... this has nothing to do with us living in a "Disposable society", it is simply that this doesn't appear to be an important structure, just an old one that is beyond repair.
Gregg Roberts December 07, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Isn't that kind of a cruel thing to say? Making light of the tragedy you inflicted upon landowners effected by that downgrading? Honest people who invested in property? Landowners surely noticed the financial hurt you put on them. You are right. The message -- don't buy land in Perry Hall -- government is against you.
Gregg Roberts December 07, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Mark, my heart goes out to you and good job standing up for history in Perry Hall. It's just we don't like history in these parts. The Embroidery, the Perry Hall Inn, etc. etc. torn down --We like KFC, pharmacies and gas stations here. Perry Hall is a great place to run out of gas or get sick. You just wanna live there. Now back in the day when there were farms, ponds, historic buildings, tree-lined Bel Air road, it was actually a truly wonderful place. That Perry Hall is gone forever.
John Doe December 07, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Steve - You have no idea what you are talking about, but I still respect your view. We are not saying all of Bel Air Road become 'Main Street' with one lane and a trolley like you think a downtown street looks like. Have you ever been in the downtown of a city? There are 8-10 lanes and it is like a highway. But guess what...people walk building to building and shop, eat, etc. According to you and others, this area is bursting at the seams with people, so making some local shops to walk to makes sense. That corner has so many families within walking distance - and that is the point. If you put in wider sidewalks and an island divider for traffic, you could make it a walking area. It is not that difficult, Steve. You 'shrink" the area this way and make it more family friendly. Downtown areas have "a huge volume of traffic" Steve - these are your words.
Honeygo Hal December 07, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Wow - Gregg Roberts - on the one hand you seem to mourn the loss of the "town" feel of Perry Hall, then you slam David Marks for protecting Perry Hall from unchecked high density development. Do you have a side to support, or do you just like to whine? Keep in mind that land owners and developers can apply for zoning changes in the future for their "downgraded" properties. The point is that the community would know if they are trying to implement higher density development.
Paul Amirault December 07, 2012 at 07:32 PM
I am nearly speechless Steve. I guess those who do know missed the words "MAJOR Roadway" in your post?
Honeygo Hal December 07, 2012 at 07:33 PM
If memory serves, Baltimore County recognized the loss of community centers and responded with Honeygo. The original concept was for greater walking areas and a de-emphasis on auto traffic. I'm fairly sure the plans are still in force, and a few more areas require the sidewalks to enable a greater emphasis on walking and "community." Perry Hall was pretty much beyond that point several years ago as Belair Rd. kept getting wider and wider, and the traffic volume increased. It's not unusual for a community that was built on what has become a major thoroughfare. Parkville may have actually weathered the storm better, as there are larger contiguous areas that can give the town feel. But it has been too late for Perry Hall for a long time. All of which is one man's opinion.
Steve Redmer December 07, 2012 at 07:38 PM
So I don't know what I'M talking about?? are you really comparing Perry Hall's "Downtown" with the Downtown of a major urban city?? Foot travel is feasible and preferred in some city neighborhoods because of high population density, lack of parking and close proximity of goods/services The "Huge volume of traffic" that I speak of is the AUTOMOBILE traffic on Belair Rd. most of which is not PH residents, but rather commuters passing through our town...those commuters apparently frequent gasoline and convenience stores and prefer not to stop at run down little bridal shops....Also the sheer volume of traffic makes walking down the sidewalk with your children not such a good idea. as for "Bursting at the seams", I don't recall saying that...but Perry Hall is a relatively populous suburban neighborhood, but unlike the urban "Downtown" neighborhoods that you have lived in and are such an expert in, Our population is scattered, sprawled out and concentrated in residential-only neighborhoods that are not in what I would consider walking distance of Belair Rd...therefore making small little shops to walk to, as you suggest, a fantastically HORRIBLE idea... for any such shops to thrive along Belair Rd. you're gonna need easy access for vehicles, and room for parking, which are two things that a lot of the properties along belair rd do NOT have
Steve Redmer December 07, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Hal- I believe that Gregg's main point is accurate....Down-zoning private property without the approval and/or consent of the property owner is wrong...it is government theft...you speak of "unchecked" high density development, that is inaccurate because the properties were already "checked" by the current zoning laws..... HOWEVER, that is not the issue at hand, that was a different argument... one that I know my view was expressed and ultimately struck down by people who wanted to intrude on private property rights :(
Honeygo Hal December 07, 2012 at 07:54 PM
Sorry, Steve - I'm no expert. I thought the point of the downgrading was to discourage - but not prevent absolutely - further high density development. My apologies if I was wrong.
Steve Redmer December 07, 2012 at 08:13 PM
No need to apologize, it's a matter of opinion really...Mine is that current zoning laws were in place, which were already a check on the property owners rights to develop at will... those property owners bought or held on to property that held value based on it's highest and best use...when the government reduces their property to "un-developable" without their consent, they are being robbed of the properties highest and best use, therefore robbed of it's value, without compensation for the loss... Others are certainly entitled to their opinions, and in this instance my opinion did not prevail.
John Doe December 07, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Honeygo Hal - thanks for the information. Steve - "the sheer volume of traffic makes walking down the sidewalk with your children not such a good idea" - but we have a school right there? "The residential areas aren't within walking distance to Bel Air Road" - Are you serious? We are the ultimate lazy society if that is true. I never said I was an expert - but we have vastly different life experiences. And yes, I have known many owners in large AND small downtown areas, where I have lived, that have converted buildings just like this.
Steve Redmer December 07, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Yes, there is a school there...a school that was built long before Belair Rd. had the traffic volume it does now. That being said, most students are transported by bus most likely, and of the schools "Walkers" most probably come from the neighborhoods off of Joppa rd and do not travel along Belair Rd. as for the walking distance...I'm sure if you looked at the most densely populated neighborhoods in Perry Hall, you would find that they are over a mile from that intersection....I happen to live in one those more densely populated areas and it is probably a 2 1/2- 3-mile walk, each way, for me...great for excercise, but not to go shopping or for a cup of coffee... if that makes me lazy, then guilty as charged....aside from the distance, most people don't have a couple hrs available in their day to walk to and from a store....but the short answer is yes, we are a lazy society, and that is not a new revelation And I applaud those you know who have converted building like this in your past...however that was their choice, with their property...for this property it would be economic suicide, and apparently the owner doesn't want to go down that road
John Doe December 07, 2012 at 09:49 PM
I live much closer, so maybe that is why I see it differently. Anyhow, we both deeply care about the area, and that thinking is what will make the area great again, so we can't argue about that.
Steve Redmer December 07, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Very true...And please don't misunderstand me, I would love to have a Main Street type area in PH, I just don't think that it would work there... And my point about the populated neighborhoods is that there isn't enough residential density in the immediate area to support businesses reliant on foot traffic....you would need ample parking so people could drive to, and then walk door to door...but then a gain these are all my opinions and observations...thanks for the debate
Big T. December 07, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Thank you , Steve Redmer. I was one of those landowners who has lost major value on my land. We had no plans on selling but was hoping for a nest egg at retirement. We were not notified by anyone nor compensated for the theft.
Steve Redmer December 08, 2012 at 06:33 PM
I feel for you Big T....I was very dismayed to see how many of your fellow Perry Hall Residents were celebrating your loss...actually it kind of disgusted me, people are so selfish and inconsiderate of other people and their property
Bill Howard December 09, 2012 at 05:05 PM
@Dottie Most likely NOT. It was built before the days of lead paint bans. Having that wood is a no-no to the EPA as much as crack. It will be disposed of in some very coslty (but lucritive to someone) manner.
Bill Howard December 09, 2012 at 05:08 PM
What needs to be done it to shape the regulations so that what goes on sites like this look much like the originals. If it has to look like that, ugly flashy chain based buildings will be discouraged.
Gregg Roberts December 13, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Honeygo Hal, Part of the charm of a small town is concern for the welfare of it's people. Preserving historical landmarks and not delivering CRUSHING BLOWS to property owners by downgrading (the value of) their land are not conflicting viewpoints. (Rich Girl. Poor Girl is not being knocked down to put up a green space) If someone buys property zoned for development it should remain that way. The value of land zoned for development and not zoned for development is radically different. Developers may have to support this kind of risk as part of the politics of their business but not honest, hard working citizens. So, yes I guess you are right I like to whine about both the disregard for history and even more so for our neighbors.

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