Community leaders and businesses and government officials in Baltimore County have agreed to a voluntary, two-year building ban in a part of Perry Hall as an alternative to a government-imposed moratorium.
Consensus on the voluntary pact affecting the largely undeveloped, 3,000-acre area known as Honeygo came yesterday after a committee of county planners, residents and builders agreed that they will use the two years to find ways to solve the area's congestion problems.
Committee members also were assured that the County Council will, in effect, be able to enforce the voluntary ban. Council man Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-3rd, said there are enough votes on the council to impose a legislated ban, if necessary, perhaps even on a single parcel of land if a builder violates the voluntary agreement.
In addition, developers' fears were allayed by Councilman Vincent Gardina, D-5th, who represents Perry Hall. He agreed not to lower zoning density on the affected land during this year's comprehensive rezoning process.
Lowering zoning density would mean that fewer homes could be built on each acre of land when the ban is lifted.
County Executive Roger B. Hayden first proposed a three-year, legislated ban in March in response to citizen complaints about growing congestion and the county's failure to provide adequate roads, schools and recreation facilities to serve new development.
But Mr. Hayden could not muster enough support from the County Council to impose the building ban. Last night, council members unanimously approved a resolution establishing the voluntary building ban instead.
Each of the seven council members agreed publicly to vote for a moratorium if the voluntary ban is violated within the two-year period, or if the eventual plan for Honeygo is violated after the ban expires.
Gary Caldwell, an area resident and president of the Perry Hall Elementary School PTA, said the voluntary ban was the best deal the community could get. But he's "still very skeptical" of the County Council's ability to enforce it, he said.
It was the council members, after all, he noted, who balked at Mr. Hayden's plan for a government-imposed ban because they were worried about hurting business interests.
The area affected by the ban is roughly bounded by Belair Road on the northwest, by Gunpowder Falls on the north, Interstate 95 and Philadelphia Road on the southeast and Honeygo Run stream and Chapel Road on the southwest.