Community battling dentists' office in Rodgers Forge

February 21, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

A seemingly innocuous dental practice near Towson has become the focus of a protracted zoning battle -- pitting a community association against two longtime dentists.

At issue is whether a dental office in a single-family home in Rodgers Forge should be allowed in a residential zone, since the owners -- husband-and-wife dentists Mark and Adrienne Jenkins -- only practice and no longer live there. They rent out its two-bedroom apartment.

The Jenkinses contend that they have been at York and Chumleigh roads for 20 years without objections from residents and should be permitted to provide a needed service to the community. The Rodgers Forge Community Association says the dental practice is a commercial venture and violates 57-year-old neighborhood covenants that protect the community from encroaching businesses.

Yesterday, the zoning case was heard in Circuit Court in the latest step of an appeal process that previously has supported the Jenkinses' request for a nonconforming use for their 20-year practice. Circuit Judge Barbara Kerr Howe will decide in the case.

Meanwhile, the Jenkinses also have filed a request to rezone the property residential office. It's not a step they initially sought, they say.

"I don't want to do it. All we want to do is to continue our dental practice," said Dr. Mark Jenkins, who grew up in Rodgers Forge. "There should be a way for a win-win situation so we can keep it but not set a precedent for the community."

But Don Gerding, an association member, said, "We're not out to burn the world. We want a viable residential community. Any crack is a major hole in the dike."

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