Balto. Co. closes private leasing office in Essex Residents see the action as symbolic in revitalization

March 11, 1997|By Joe Nawrozki | Joe Nawrozki,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County zoning officials have closed a private leasing office in an Essex residential neighborhood -- normally a minor bureaucratic step but one magnified in a community trying to reduce rental properties and promote homeownership.

The order to close Foxridge Leasing Center on South Marlyn Avenue is symbolic to community leaders who feel empowered by a revitalization plan pushed by the county executive and supported by officials such as County Councilman Vincent J. Gardina.

"If the same complaint had been made several years ago, action would not have occurred in months or years," Ellen Jackson, a civic activist who has lived on Back River Peninsula for 51 years, said. "Now it's easier to work with the county. It's like we're recognized as being on the map."

Added Susan Widerman of the Essex-Middle River Civic Council: "We're quite pleased with the outcome but we're going to watch the properties closely. The presence of the sign and leasing office undermined the intention of community conservation to encourage homeownership in this area."

Arnold Jablon, director of permits and development management, said the citation closing the center was issued against the company last week, about 10 working days after his agency received complaints from residents of Foxridge, a community of nearly 600 brick townhouses.

Foxridge Rental Properties has 30 days to appeal the citation to District Court.

Martha Poehler, vice president of Apartment Services Inc., a management firm in Timonium, said the former leasing center has been rented to new occupants.

Isaac Neuberger, an attorney representing the interests of developer Carl Julio, said, "We're still scratching our heads over why this suddenly became an issue."

Neuberger said Carl Julio's late father, Theodore, built the townhouses in the mid-1950s, and the company offers about 110 for lease through Roslyn Realty.

"These are in very good shape, well-maintained, and have been rentals since they were built," Neuberger said, adding that he has not decided whether the zoning decision will be contested.

Even those protesting the leasing office say the leased properties are well-maintained.

"People on the Eastside are more sensitive to the rental issue," said Gardina, a Democrat.

Pub Date: 3/11/97

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