High court refuses review of Green Spring Valley case

Racquet club owners claim county zoning law violated their rights

April 05, 2001|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to review the case of a Baltimore County development group that claimed its rights were violated by a zoning law that blocked plans for an office complex at the entrance to Green Spring Valley.

William and Loretta Hirshfeld and Greenspring Racquet Club Inc. had asked the Supreme Court to review a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., last fall that denied most of their legal claims.

The Supreme Court rejected that request without comment this week.

The Hirshfelds want to replace the Greenspring Racquet Club, at Falls and Greenspring Valley roads, with two office buildings and a parking garage.

The Hirshfelds notified county officials of their plans for the 5.5-acre site in June 1998. But the County Council enacted a law four months later that brought the project to a halt.

The law requires a hearing officer's approval for buildings more than 35 feet high that are built within 750 feet of rural conservation areas. County officials said the law applied to 150 sites and described it as an attempt to control dense development in rural areas.

The developers sued, contending that the law unfairly targeted them because it didn't affect lots in other parts of the county that are also near protected areas.

The Hirshfelds filed a separate lawsuit in 1999 in Baltimore County Circuit Court. The lawsuit, which argues that county officials violated their rights and acted in bad faith, is pending.

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