Timonium residents prevail in fight over tennis courts

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Baltimore & Region

October 07, 2005|By JOSH MITCHELL | JOSH MITCHELL,SUN REPORTER

Residents along Bomont Road in Timonium were never keen on sharing their street with tennis courts. But more than a decade ago, they agreed with the Baltimore Country Club to drop their opposition to the idea provided the club limited the number of new courts to nine.

Yesterday, the county Board of Appeals ruled that the country club must abide by that agreement, overriding the club's latest plan for 12 courts.

"It's a very important case for community associations," said J. Carroll Holzer, representing Bomont Road residents. "You can't let the communities bargain for something in good faith and then turn around and go back on it years later."

Had the Board of Appeals ruled in favor of the country club, Holzer added, "there would be no incentive for community associations to ever settle" disputes outside of court. "Why would you settle just to have your agreement abrogated later on?"

Attempts to reach an attorney for the country club for comment were not successful yesterday.

The dispute stemmed from the country club's plan to build tennis courts and a small building at the northwest corner of Bomont and Mays Chapel roads, Holzer said.

Several years after the country club agreed to limit the number of courts to nine, residents learned that the club was seeking county approval to build 12. Holzer said the key to yesterday's ruling was that the 1993 agreement had been included in the zoning commissioner's initial decision to approve the project.

"Even though this is a relatively wealthy area, it still pits the big country club used to getting their way against a smaller community that had to band together," said J. John "Jack" Dillon, a former county planner who testified before the Board of Appeals in support of the residents. "Tennis courts can be a real nuisance. You end up with doors slamming, people talking loud - all those issues. In this county it's not too often the communities win a case like this."

josh.mitchell@baltsun.com

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