YOU TELL US: What's So Bad About New Perry Hall Homes?

Patch readers have differing views on the impact of development in Perry Hall neighborhoods.

It started with a by about public hearings for a planned next to the .

It's turned into a debate over planning, crowding and construction in the larger community.

While communities across America have spent the last five years struggling through foreclosure and housing crises, in Perry Hall has barely skipped a beat. In general, developments generate tax revenue and new homeowners stimulate the local economy.

Of course, not everyone is pleased. Complaints range from school overcrowding to traffic issues. A is even scheduled to discuss ' for the of hundreds of acres of Perry Hall—effectively preventing housing developments from being built in several neighborhoods.

Check out this selection of and tell us what you think about development in Perry Hall. 

The charm that was Perry Hall Is gone forever. And for what?
Someone is making huge money at the expense and objections of the current and long time residents.
They're turning our quaint community into a mega-opolis, where no one will want to live.
We must stop it!!!


I'm part of the 1% and I just built a home in Perry Hall. Enjoy my tax dollars. The attitude of "I was here, I'm happy...now the rest of you stay out" is a real turn off.

I do have an honest question - where are all of these vacant homes that are attributed to overbuilding?

I thought that our children were our future? How about another middle school and high school to alleviate the over crowded PHMS and PHHS issues? Can anyone push for schools around this lovely town? And yes, schools with a/c!!! Why are more family homes being built and no more schools? This is NOT making sense here.

Is development a sign of economic prosperity, or is it causing a negative impact on Perry Hall? Tell us in the comments.

DK March 15, 2012 at 07:19 PM
BUILD MORE SCHOOLS 1st !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Where do they expect to educate the children ..On the streets ! PH Schools are over crowded now ! And in need of major improvements.
Al Carlson March 15, 2012 at 07:25 PM
I continue to be amazed by the reference to the evil, greedy home builder. In case is it not clear, home builders exists to build homes. In order to build homes, a builder must receive clearance to do so. Consideration for and approval of that clearance is provided by government and bureaucratic bodies. If that clearance is not granted, a home builder moves on. If it is granted, a builder builds homes. It is not the fault of the home builder if a government body believes that the schools can support additional students and you believe that the schools can't. Many home builders are publicly traded companies and they have a fiduciary duty to their shareholders to make money. They do this by building houses. This is called a free market economy.
John Doe March 15, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Perry Hall passed the threshold for its community feel from everything I read and witness. You can build to certain extent over years, but there comes a tipping point.
Gary Staab March 15, 2012 at 07:49 PM
It don't hurt the builders and real estate moguls to have family members on the boards that claim to have the community's best interest at heart, either. My family moved here in the 50's. I went to, and graduated from PHHS in 1974. They have been talking about expanding ever since. I guess the little green trailers are their idea of expansion. Yes, we live in a free market society, and the building is good for economic growth, but ENOUGH is ENOUGH already! There has got to be a better way.
Greg Redmer March 15, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Al, I have no problem with the home builders but have problems with certain politicians that change the zoning to allow developments on property that they own and land owned by their "friends". Being a lifelong (55) resident I followed the zoning over the years and watched how a certain lawmaker made millions for he and his kids (separate lots) by pushing developments to his properties. Saw how in the early 80's some well known Towson lawyers bought up the land and farms along Cross road which of course was sold to developers. These lawyers of course had personal ties with the council and likely personal knowledge of what zoning changes would be introduced. Development was inevitable but I think we've had enough for now.
John Doby March 15, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I would also like to know where the extra students are all coming from regarding the overcrowding complaints. The new construction added a good amount, I'm sure, but if the overcrowding is that bad, there would be more coming from all over. Like I said in my previous comment, the houses around Seven Courts were built in the late 80’s and early 90’s and there are several other developments in the Perry Hall area that are from the early 90’s. Kids born from 1994-1998 would be in high school right now and would coincide with houses built in the early 90’s with new couples/families having kids after buying new houses. So for all of those complaining about the overcrowding, I’m sure it’s an issue, but where exactly are the extra students coming from?
DK March 15, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Go build houses somewhere else !!! enough already !!
Paul Amirault March 15, 2012 at 08:24 PM
As a Builder/developer who wrote the original blog, I have researched the overcrowded school issue in some detail. Most people just assume it is more children. Simply not true. When the school system went from 1/2 day Kindergarten to all day they doubled the classroom requirement. What used to be 4 1/2 day classes using just two rooms, overnight became the need for four rooms. Whose fault, not the Builder/Developer? How many of you have children attending GT classes that have 10 kids in the class instead of 25 kids when I went to school. How about 1/2 filled AP classes. Class sizes have fallen in the name of better education. Perry Hall schools are "overcrowded" but adjoining schools are not. Anyone ever heard of redistricting? School overcrowding has lots of causes, most are not overbuilding related and those are the simple facts. Look up how any kids are in public schools now compared to the 1970's, the answer will shock you.
Gary Staab March 15, 2012 at 08:25 PM
Mr. Redmer, I'm glad others know of the corruption in the community that was disguised as a benefit for the community. What a travesty!!
Gary Staab March 15, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Mr. Amirault, Not to question your research, but in an article dated November 14, 2011, right here on Patch, the Baltimore Co. Board of Ed. was quoted giving statistics that the elementary schools in Perry Hall are as much as 115 percent occupied. Far above expected. And where do you think these children will attend higher grade level schools? And all those houses you built? I find it hard to believe that the huge increase in houses in the past 10 years were only built for non child bearing adults. Home schooled??? I think not!!
Paul Amirault March 15, 2012 at 09:12 PM
Mr. Staab, what you ask is the exact same question I asked when presented with the Board of Education statistic you quote. Clearly one would think there are simply more kids!? That would be true if "rated capacity" was not a chameleon. When school systems went from 1/2 day Kindergarten to all day, the Board of Ed reduced the rated capacity of an elementary school. The exact same thing occurred with AP and GT classes. There are fewer students in public schools today than in the 1970's and we have more schools!? Interesting conundrum I might say.
Paul Amirault March 15, 2012 at 09:17 PM
Mr. Staab, on the point of more homes, specifically in PH since I built many of them, these buyers were mostly "move-up" buyers, thus their children were older or empty nesters and many could afford private schools. The home they sold to "move-up" was purchased by families with younger children. Thus the new far more expensive homes came with few young children. In addition, after the 80's very few townhomes have been built in PH.
David Marks March 16, 2012 at 12:26 AM
School overcrowding is not entirely driven by development. Throughout Baltimore County, older residents are selling their homes to younger families; this is the reason why there are overcrowded schools in neighborhoods with almost no residential growth. Stoneleigh Elementary School in Towson, which I also represent, exceeds its capacity by 30 percent; Hampton Elementary is nearly 80 percent overcapacity. The county has prioritized its funding in this area because the overcrowding is most acute there. The introduction of all-day kindergarten has also had an impact throughout the county. Development does contribute to the problem, however, and I am downzoning up to 480 acres of land in the Fifth District to try to shape the scale and look of future growth. It is the most significant zoning action initiated by a County Councilmember from this district in 20 years. But at the same time, keep in mind that development does grow our tax base. In an aging county, we simply will not be able to pay for all those schools and infrastructure people want without the tax revenue generated by some level of development. And I will always say that Perry Hall is fantastic place to live, with great schools, many more parks than other communities, a great recreation program, low crime rates, and a sense of charm and history. It's the reason why so many people want to live here.
Karen Martin March 16, 2012 at 02:19 PM
They are being bussed in from outside the community and it needs to stop. I graduated from PHHS in 1970 and we were last class that could fit on the stage to have graduation at the school. Have you looked lately and seen the growing number of outside classrooms? It is crazy the actual school building cannot house all the students without the outside classrooms.
Heather March 16, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Mr. Amirault needs to take a look at Gunpowder ES, and my daughter's 1st grade class that has 27 kids. I don't care how many kids we "thought" was ok to pack into a classroom in the '70's! Times have changed. There is no way those kids are each getting the attention they need on a daily basis. There are no GT classes at Gunpowder with 10 kids in it. Give me a break. When all of the new houses were filled in our neighborhood, they had to add a new bus line just for the kids in our neighborhood. That being said, I have no problem with the new homes being built, but the schools need to be able to accommodate all of the kids. It seems like there is a total disconnect. These new homes generate new tax dollars, and that money should go to school building/renovating/adding additions.
Paul Amirault March 16, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Heather, the new developments on the east side of Belair Road and their children do not attend Gunpowder ES. You do have all day Kindergarten at Gunpowder when it used to be 1/2 day. I wonder how many classrooms were lost due to that change? There are elementary schools with extra capacity surrounding Perry Hall, but say the "redistricting" word and watch the complaints then.
Heather March 16, 2012 at 04:20 PM
I haven't done my homework on this, but I believe the new homes set to be built next to the library, as well as the new Forge Crossing homes are all districted for Gunpowder. That is where all of the kids from the older surrounding homes go. I hear you on the "redistricting" complaints, as I recall the Vincent Farm/Chapel Hill fiasco. But the bottom line is, something needs to be done. Yes, Gunpowder has all day Kindergarten, as does every school in the state now. That would account for losing 2 classrooms. But adding two classrooms now would not solve the class size and overcrowding problems. Kudos to David Marks to try and slow down development, but like he said, families with young kids move into the older homes as well. Complicated issue, but something needs to be done.
Kris March 17, 2012 at 01:27 AM
This is a fairly simple problem with a fairly simple answer. What makes/made Perry Hall great and desirable is that it is not the city. It doesnt cover every square inch of open earth with concrete and steel. What the greedy developers seek is to put a mcmansion anywhere they can squeeze one, because it makes them money. The government doesnt argue, because it makes them money too. If the government was more focused on the needs and wants of the citizens, then the overdevelopment would be curbed. What the short-sighted developers dont see, is that they're ruining our town, one subdivision at a time. They have to end game, they only see dollars. Where does it end? At what point do you stop cutting down trees and leveling fields? Probably once its all gone, then they're on to the next patch of nature to destroy.
chuck March 17, 2012 at 01:10 PM
"...can get the zoning changed.." ha ha too, funny!
Evets March 18, 2012 at 01:11 AM
Class sizes are falling? Where? I have taught many GT classes over the years and have NEVER had less than 25 kids in a class. We currently have 2 GT classes in 6th grade, one is 29 students, the other 33. This is in Dundalk, where there is hardly a housing boom. And I agree, student population has little to do with too many new houses being built.
Rhonda March 18, 2012 at 11:09 AM
Kris I agree with you, you are the only person who has made this point. What happens when there isn't any land left? Once these houses, stores or whatever are built that land will never be the same. It worries me that no one cares about what is really important, having trees and wildlife. Of course thats what draws people to an area in the first place. This is a problem for most of the county and it just keeps getting worse. Who is going to want to live in Perry Hall when it's all buildings and busy crowed streets with no trees or natural land? Where are all these people coming from that we have to keep building and building? Since there is a limit to the land that is left then there has to be a limit to the building. I wonder what these areas will look like in 20 yrs. Too sad
Greg Redmer March 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM
The responsibility to control growth is in the hands of the county council. Luck for us David Marks is doing a great job. It's a tough situation for the landowners. If you have an old farm or large parcel at some point you or your heirs are going to want to sell to a developer to make a bundle and/or pay off their inheritance taxes. Others have made their fortunes selling land, why not us?? They will feel it's unfair when the county stops them from cashing out. You can see the balancing act is a tough one and there will always be winners and losers. In reality the developers are not to blame. They are only employed once the county zoning allows for the landowners to make their deals.
Evets March 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM
There is a simple solution to this. All of the people who are against more housing in Perry Hall (and hence more people) can simply join together to pay more for land than the evil developers are offering. I know that if I had valuable land in Perry Hall that a developer was willing to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars for, I'm selling. I'm selling because it is about the kids - my kids and grandkids who would benefit from getting a nice little nest egg to make their future a bit brighter. If you want land turned into a park or kept as is, buy it!
Evets March 18, 2012 at 02:03 PM
Are those complaining about new housing doing away with trees and fields willing to tear down there own homes and plant trees? You go back far enough and pretty much all of Perry Hall (and the eastern USA) was covered by forests. I was not around then, but I would wager that many trees were cleared in order to make room for the Mansion that Perry Hall is named after. My neighbor moved into his brand new home in 1952. He has a picture oft the land his home (and many others built around the same time) is on taken shortly after WWII; trees as far as you can see. My neighbor thinks it is great to live in a community that many people want to move to, instead of escape from. When current Perry Hall homeowners who decry more home buidling agree to return their property to its pristine and mostly wooded state, I'll buy their argument. I won't hold my breath.
David Marks March 18, 2012 at 03:07 PM
Greg, thank you very much.
Gary Staab March 18, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I don't think anyone in Perry Hall is against building all together. But when we have discussions about what to put on a piece of property here and there, it begs to me, why leaving it undeveloped can't be an option. It seems that the thinking is that we must develope every square inch of land. My main problem with development is the destruction of the old and historic buildings. Of course there all gone now, so I guess the argument is mute. Those of us that have lived here all our lives were recently bombarded with a HUGE amount of changes and we just think it's time to stop or at least slow down and consider what the future will look like.
Paul Amirault March 18, 2012 at 07:14 PM
As the only "greedy" developer who appears willing to post on the Patch, I am compelled to respond to some of the comments which are indirectly headed my way. I am in the business of developing real estate in accordance with the underlying zoning that was put in place by politicians many years ago. We were invited to build and develop and now we are lepers? I have never requested the rezoning of a parcel of property so I could build homes on the property. The homes I built and the property I developed in Perry Hall are amongst the most desirable homes people wanted to buy. That list includes properties in Perry Hall Farms, Glenside Farms, Shadowcreek, Parkside, Perry Hall Crossing I & II, Forge Reserve, and several more. The people in those communities pay a substantial amount of the tax burden, both property and income taxes, levied by Baltimore County and the state of Maryland. These people, many of which send their children to private schools, pay a large portion of the taxes that support the public schools our children attend (yes, my children attended public schools in Perry Hall and Kingsville). Being called "greedy" is very offensive when what I and other developer/builders do is comply with the laws in existence when doing real estate development. Folks, the population is continuing to grow, people continue to have children, if you don't have a place where young people wish to live, our community will slowly disintegrate.
David Marks March 19, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I really don't think I would have proposed downzoning 480 acres if I wasn't serious about it.
John Doe March 19, 2012 at 06:02 PM
I understand development to an extent, but if you want to see a good example of what not to do - drive on Rossville Blvd. towards Franklin Square - look at the 4 houses thrown up along the right side of road with a little open area out front. It is totally out of place. The houses ar beautiful, but obviously not built with the future owner in mind.
Gary Staab March 19, 2012 at 10:50 PM
The future population can move into all the vacant housing that is available. Unless it gets torn down before they get here.


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