County OKs limits on rural building

Amended zoning category to encourage small farms

August 03, 2004|By Seth Rosen | Seth Rosen,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County Council approved last night the creation of a new zoning classification designed to limit development of some rural tracts.

The council voted unanimously to create the classification, which would allow one lot to be developed on properties of 10 acres or less and three lots to be developed on a 50-acre tract. The bill had limited development at four lots for properties of more than 50 acres, but it was amended yesterday to allow one more lot to be developed for each additional 50 acres of land.

The measure's sponsor, Councilman T. Bryan McIntire, said the new RC8 zoning class is designed to encourage agricultural uses for the land.

"One of the things we are trying to do is to create what has been absent: the farmette," McIntire, a north county Republican, said yesterday. "The person who has 10, 12 or 15 acres who wants to have some animals and a good-size vegetable garden."

He said the zoning "helps the little fellow and doesn't hurt major landowners."

The new zoning class would not be applied to properties with agricultural zoning that allows one lot to be developed for every 50 acres or for land with zoning that allows one house for every 25 acres.

"The motivation was to give small property owners the opportunity to develop their land and not to be as severe as the two existing zones," McIntire said.

The RC8 classification would allow single-family houses, farms and limited-acre wholesale flower farms. It also would allow roadside farm stands, home occupations, professional offices and swimming pools, tennis courts and other recreational amenities, as long as they are an accessory to housing. It also allows for schools and churches.

The council did not vote last night on another proposal that would have limited landowners with RC4 zoning, which allows one lot per five acres to be developed, to building on no more than four lots on any property larger than 20 acres.

When the proposals were discussed at a council work session last week, land preservationists cheered them. But some residents, real estate agents and homebuilders criticized the changes as unnecessary and too late in the county's quadrennial rezoning process. The council is expected to vote Aug. 31 on hundreds of rezoning proposals.

Also last night, the Council voted 6-1 to require that it and the county executive be told whether a company doing business with the county is sending jobs to foreign countries. The bill's sponsor, Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall-Towson Democrat, expressed concern that outsourcing deprives county residents of jobs.

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