Planning panel deadlocks on Calvert School proposal

January 19, 2001|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

The Calvert School's plan to demolish a North Baltimore apartment complex to expand its campus moved to the City Council last night after the planning commission deadlocked on a key zoning bill.

The 4-4 vote, a highly unusual result, means that the measure goes to the council's Land Use Committee without a recommendation from the commission.

"I can't remember a time there was a tie like this," said 5th District Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector, a commission member and a 24-year council veteran. Spector voiced sympathy for residents of 4300 N. Charles St., a complex of garden apartments, who would be displaced.

"The real battle will be in the council," Spector added. The bill is slated for hearings this month.

The commission deadlocked on a zoning bill - sponsored by 2nd District Councilman Bernard "Jack" Young - that would amend the zoning code to allow for a public review process and city approval before 50 or more living units are razed by a school. A similar bill sponsored by Young to amend the building code to require certain permits to raze 50 or more dwelling units was rejected by the commission because, commissioners said, the panel deals strictly with land use.

Dozens of people lined up to speak on the issue, including 9-year-old Caitlin M. Cromwell, a Calvert School student, who charmed the board when she finished her remarks with the cheer, "Go Calvert! Go Ravens!"

Also attending last night's meeting were elderly retired residents, who spent many days picketing Calvert after they learned of the school's acquisition of the apartment complex that is on the border of Tuscany-Canterbury and Guilford.

"A community is being destroyed," declared John C. Murphy, an attorney representing the 4300 N. Charles St. residents.

About 40 or 50 residents remain in the apartments, he said. More than 100 had lived at the address a few months ago.

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