The Baltimore County Planning Board winds up its series of public hearings on rezoning tonight when it considers petitions for the southeastern corner of the county, a largely developed area with much of its land along the waterfront.
In the 7th Councilmanic District, many land-use conflicts are focused on vacant industrial-commercial chunks, adjacent to residential communities but not yet developed, said Gary Kerns, chief of community planning.
One example is 210 acres of land between Pulaski Highway and the Beltway. A planned extension of Kelso Drive to this land, near Chesaco Avenue and Schafers Lane, will improve access to the area and speed industrial development, he said.
Another tough issue is a 25-acre wooded property at Merritt Boulevard and the Peninsula Expressway, a four-lane divided highway that runs through industrial land and out to Sparrows Point.
The property is zoned residential, Mr. Kerns said, but that use is unsuitable because it is bounded by the expressway and railroad tracks -- where parents would not want their children to ,, walk or play.
The planning staff agreed with the landowner that the area would be too noisy for apartments or townhouses, and made a preliminary recommendation in favor of the owner's requested rezoning to a manufacturing use.
But Jackie MacMillan, community planner for the 7th District, said a better solution might be giving the area a proposed new designation: "Service employment zone."
This low-intensity industrial designation -- not yet adopted by county officials -- would create an office-warehouse zoning category that would be a buffer in the transition from heavy industry to homes.
Ms. MacMillan said some of the problems in her district are
relatively easy to solve.
She cited a Pulaski Highway truck stop that needs a proper zoning designation, and 100-plus acres of North Point State Park that still carry some heavy industrial zoning.
Another issue that could provoke citizen comment tonight is a request by Browning-Ferris Industries to rezone 10 acres at the landfill on Norris Lane from agricultural conservation to manufacturing, Ms. MacMillan said. While this is not a major issue, she noted, anything having to do with the Norris Farm landfill provokes public distrust.
The planning board sends its recommendations to the County Council, which will make a final decision in October.
What: A public hearing on rezoning issues in the 7th Councilmanic District
Where: Patapsco High School, 8100 Wise Ave.
When: 7:30 tonight; sign-up for speakers is from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.