Howard and Baltimore counties act to clamp down on smokers BALTIMORE COUNTY

September 08, 1993|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

In an end-of-summer flourish, the Baltimore County Council moved last night to crack down on smoking and rowdy college students.

A bill to outlaw smoking in all county-owned and leased spaces except firehouse garages and another imposing bigger fines on noisy college students and their landlords were approved.

A companion measure to regulate boarding houses frequently used by Towson State University and University of Maryland at Baltimore County (UMBC) students also was approved.

The council also approved:

* Stanley J. Schapiro as new county attorney.

* Renewal of the 4 percent cap on assessment increases for next year.

* Conversion of a former convent in Pikesville into a transitional home for single mothers.

Last month, the council approved a bill banning smoking in the public spaces of all shopping malls.

Smoking also is banned in enclosed malls in Anne Arundel and Howard counties. Cranberry Mall in Carroll County banned smoking earlier this year.

The bill voted on last night would eliminate the last indoor refuge of smokers who work for county government -- their offices.

Bills take effect 45 days after they are enacted and signed by the county executive.

Merreen E. Kelly, county administrative officer, said that county workers will get notices in their paychecks Friday surveying their interest in stop-smoking clinics.

Firefighters, who live for several days per shift in firehouses, would be the only exception. They would be allowed to smoke in the engine bays of their stations.

The bills on noise and rooming houses are aimed at Towson State University students who live off campus in rented rooms and fraternity houses in the neighborhoods bordering the school.

They were submitted by Towson's councilman, Douglas B. Riley, R-4th, who set up a "town-gown" committee two years ago to find ways of easing the tensions between students and residents.

Catonsville's councilwoman, Berchie Lee Manley, R-1st, has said there are occasionally similar tensions around UMBC's campus.

The noise bill provides for civil fines ranging from $500 to $750 against landlords whose tenants are repeatedly cited for excessive noise. Under the bill, the landlord of young tenants who are cited by police for excessive noise three times in 60 days would be warned.

If the tenants are cited again withing six months, the landlord could be fined. The idea is to stop noisy parties from being held at the same house.

Councilman William A. Howard 4th, R-6th, a real estate broker, had trouble with that idea at last week's council work session. He worried that the law would create "potential for harassment" of the landlord by neighbors.

Mr. Howard also worried that the rooming house bill, which seeks to regulate scores of rooming houses operating outside county zoning laws, is "unreasonable" and might discourage this form of housing.

The new law would allow owners of detached homes to get a rooming house permit without a public hearing, should no one object.

Now, landlords must get a special zoning exception for a rooming house, which requires a public hearing. In return for allowing easier access to a permit, the county would require more specific information about the house and its tenants, and ++ would require one parking space per tenant.

In other action, the council approved spending $367,000 in federal community block grant money to set up a transitional home for seven to 10 mothers and their children.

The new center at the former St. Charles Church convent in the 100 block of Sudbrook Lane would house the families for up to three years.

The housing program won a required zoning approval last week. It is to be operated by Innterim Housing, a private nonprofit group that works to teach people job skills so they can establish their own permanent homes.

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