Friends and foes of development in Perry Hall and White Marsh, new zoning for marinas and boatyards, increased commercialization of Belair Road, and protection for rural Kingsville are expected to turn out in force tonight for a public hearing on eastern Baltimore County by the planning board.
"The issues are very different throughout the district, from the waterfront, to the growth area of White Marsh," said Joan Morrissey Ward, community planner for the 5th Councilmanic District.
Near the designated growth area of Perry Hall and White Marsh (( there are hundreds of acres on the list of land-use issues, most raised by planners and the Perry Hall Improvement Association.
"The problem for planners is that land zoned for high density is in the growth area, but we wonder whether it's appropriate. We may not be able to sustain it -- with water, sewer, roads, schools, open space -- and no money," Ms. Ward said.
The planning staff itself placed more than 600 acres of the land on the list of issues earlier this year, but didn't recommend any change in zoning because staff members found they needed more information to resolve the tension between rapid growth and the county's master plan, she said.
Meanwhile, County Executive Roger B. Hayden has proposed a three-year moratorium on construction on 3,000 acres in the Honeygo area, north of Perry Hall.
"We're hoping the hearing isn't going to be all people talking about the moratorium," Ms. Ward said, noting that Mr. Hayden's proposal is not a planning board action.
On the board's list are about two dozen marinas scattered throughout lower Back River Neck, Frog Mortar Creek, Bowleys Quarters and Essex.
Most operate under a special exception that requires a hearing "every time they want to put up a fence," she said.
A proposed new category of land use would allow marinas without allowing heavier uses permitted under a regular "business" designation.
In Bowleys Quarters and Back River Neck, local improvement associations also have filed petitions to lower density on more than 700 acres -- a down-zoning that would mean single-family homes rather than town houses and condominiums, Ms. Ward said. The planning staff supports these changes, she said.
While the peninsula petitions came from neighbors of the properties, two dozen proposals for increasing commercialization along a 2 1/2 -mile stretch of Belair Road came from the property owners themselves.
The planning staff agrees with the owners that the road has become more commercial than residential, but traffic congestion makes many changes impossible, Ms. Ward said.
The Baltimore County planning board will hear comments on comprehensive rezoning issues in the 5th Councilmanic District tonight at 7:30 at Perry Hall High School, 4601 Ebenezer Road. Speakers may sign up from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The comprehensive rezoning process occurs every four years.