Company's plan to relocate family cemetery studied

June 18, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

Once again, a family cemetery is standing in the way of development in Baltimore County -- this time for a proposed restaurant-office complex in Cockeysville.

In a twist for preservation, though, the property owners want to create a nearby history park and relocate the remains of the Cockey family -- founding members of Cockeysville -- there. The reinterment would pave the way for a Bob Evans restaurant, Romano's Macaroni Grill and an office building on the north side of Padonia Road, just east of Interstate 83.

Yesterday, a zoning official endorsed the plan to relocate the 200-year-old graveyard to another site -- as long as family members agreed.

But deputy zoning commissioner Timothy M. Kotroco said questions remain -- such as whether Redland Genstar Inc., which operates quarries in the area, actually had title to the cemetery and whether more than 67 bodies are buried there.

"We support close scrutiny at this point," said P. James Kurapka of the Baltimore County Historical Society.

Under scrutiny by preservationists, another family graveyard -- the Shealey Cemetery in Towson -- has created problems for the proposed $25 million redevelopment of the former Hutzler's building. An archaeological survey is planned there.

Genstar, claiming it could move the remains regardless of the zoning decision, offered two other alternatives for reinterment -- at Saters Baptist Cemetery in Lutherville or behind the proposed Bob Evans restaurant.

Several family members who attended yesterday's hearing said they needed more time to decide their ancestors' fate.

"How would you feel if someone was digging up your family?" asked Moira Hutchins-Fuhr, a Cockey descendant.

But the family agreed to Kotroco's zoning decision as long as they had input into the relocation.

Whatever happens, the Cockey descendants want to make sure their relatives really do have a a final resting place. "What kind of guarantee will you give us that every 200 years, we don't play 'let's move the family around?' " Hutchins-Fuhr wondered.

Pub Date: 6/18/96

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