Public's input next zoning step in county

First hearing of seven planned is set for tonight

March 09, 2004|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

The public input phase of Baltimore County's quadrennial rezoning process begins tonight in Pikesville with the first of seven hearings for residents to discuss proposals affecting more than 90,000 acres.

Planning Board members will hold one meeting in each County Council district before the end of the month. They will then pass on their recommendations to the County Council for a final decision in the fall.

"While the information we get from the planning staff is very important to us, it's not as complete as hearing directly from property owners or people directly affected by rezoning requests," said Planning Board Chairman Charles E. Klein.

Although this year's rezoning cycle features fewer separate issues than the last round four years ago, county councilmen, planning staff and community associations have filed requests for some huge tracts of land, particularly in the northern areas of the county. If the total acreage up for rezoning throughout the county was put together, it would be nearly twice the size of Baltimore City.

2nd District

Tonight's meeting will cover zoning issues in the 2nd District, which includes Pikesville, Ruxton, Green Spring Valley and parts of Owings Mills and Reisterstown. In that district, Councilman Kevin Kamenetz proposed more restrictive residential zoning for thousands of acres in Green Spring Valley.

The 2nd District hearing will be held at Pikesville High School. All of the meetings are scheduled for the same time, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., with the sign-in to speak beginning at 6:15 p.m.

On Thursday, the board will hear zoning issues in the 4th District, which includes Woodlawn, Randallstown, Granite and parts of Owings Mills. The largest issue in that district involves a 9,900-acre tract west of Liberty Road. Board members suggested that it be rezoned to allow one house per 25 acres. That meeting will be held at Owings Mills High School.

The hearing for the 7th District, which includes Dundalk and part of Essex, will be held Tuesday at Patapsco High School. Relatively few requests affect large tracts in the area. Some of the more significant proposals involve changing the zoning of properties from manufacturing to residential.

The board will hold a hearing for the 5th District, which includes Towson and Perry Hall, on March 18 at Towson High School. In that district, the Ruxton/Riderwood/Lake Roland Improvement Association, concerned about development on some of the area's larger lots, has proposed more restrictive residential zoning for nearly the entire community.

1st District

The 1st District meeting will be held on March 23 at Lansdowne High School. In that district, which includes Catonsville and Arbutus, the largest issue is a request by the Hilltop Maple Community Association to change the zoning for about 90 acres south of Concert Way to more restrictive rural zoning.

The meeting for the 6th District, which includes parts of Parkville, Rosedale, Essex and Middle River, is scheduled for March 25 at Parkville High School. The Holly Neck Improvement Association has proposed more restrictive rural zoning for about 160 acres north and south of Holly Neck Road.

The district with the most land up for rezoning is the 3rd District, which includes the rural north. The public hearing there will take place March 30 at Dulaney High School. The biggest single issue in the district was proposed by the board, which suggested converting more than 20,000 acres around the Loch Raven Reservoir into a rural zone designed to protect environmentally sensitive sites.

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