Calvert School issue set for review by city

February 26, 2001|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

Two City Council committees are set today to consider whether to endorse bills that could thwart the Calvert School's planned leveling of a neighboring North Baltimore apartment complex to make room for classrooms and playing fields.

The bills - one would change zoning law and the other would affect the city's building code - have the same thrust, requiring a primary or secondary school to seek public review before razing a building with 50 or more living units. A related bill introduced in Annapolis is to be heard Thursday.

Tonight's joint hearing is likely to be led by 1st District Councilwoman Lois Garey, chairwoman of the Land Use and Planning Committee, city officials said. The Housing, Health and Environment Committee also will be part of the 5 p.m. proceedings in the City Council Chamber. No vote is expected on the measures tonight.

Nearly six months ago, Calvert School bought a 5-acre property at 4300 N. Charles St. for an undisclosed amount and announced plans to build a middle school and two large playing fields.

But dozens of residents of the 1965 garden apartments on the premises, some of them elderly, decided to confront the school in the arenas of public opinion and politics. The two bills to be considered today are largely a result of the residents banding together, staging sidewalk protests and hiring lawyer John C. Murphy.

Second District Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young, who introduced the bills, and Council President Sheila Dixon have been the council's most vocal supporters of the residents' cause. Last week, 2nd District Councilwoman Bea Gaddy joined a Charles Street protest, saying, "Nobody wants to see anybody displaced."

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