Baltimore County Council Considers Bill Giving Members Power To Cancel Planned Unit Development (PUD) Approval


A derelict industrial area at the LaFarge site in Baltimore County. (Credit: Google/ Google Maps)

BALTIMORE COUNTY - The Baltimore County Council is considering a bill that would allow council members to cancel the approval for new Planned Unit Developments (PUDs).

The legislation is co-sponsored by District 5 Councilman David Marks and District 6 Councilman Mike Ertel and has received bi-partisan support from the county council. Bill No. 23-23 would allow council members to introduce resolutions that can modify or revoke approval of a PUD in their districts within 90 days after the conclusion of the community input meeting.

Baltimore County zoning regulations define a PUD as “a mixed-use development that may combine residential, recreational, industrial and commercial elements.”

For Marks, the bill aims to stop the development of the Lafarge Quarry property in Eastern Baltimore County. The Lafarge site was an active mine for over 75 years until redevelopment plans were submitted in 2019. Developers seek to turn the area into a roughly three million square foot industrial park.

“I was elected to slow down the pace of development in our older Eastside communities. I opposed the original Planned Unit Development resolution for this project,” Marks said in a statement.

Residents and Community groups in the area have opposed the project due to concerns that it will impact the local ecosystem and inundate the area’s roads and infrastructure. The property was originally zoned as a “Resource Conservation for environmental enhancement,” which would prohibit industrial and commercial uses for the land.

District 6’s former councilmembers, Cathy Bevins, approved the PUD for the LaFarge site, providing the developer with an exception to the zoning classification so long as the developers donate 200 acres to Baltimore County for public use.

Concurrently with Marks’ bill, Baltimore County’s Master Plan 2030 is also seeking to reform the PUD approval process. The master plan states that the county should “evaluate and amend” the approval process to ensure transparency for the public.

The bill will be discussed at a work session on April 25 at 4 p.m. A final reading and vote will occur at a legislative session scheduled for May 1 at 6 p.m.

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