Council OKs library land deal

Perry Hall site also could hold school bus depot

November 21, 2006|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,Sun Reporter

The Baltimore County Council approved the purchase of nearly 7 acres in Perry Hall for a new library last night.

The deal, approved by a unanimous vote, followed two years of negotiations between the county government and the Archdiocese of Baltimore. The government will give the church $1.1 million and 1.8 acres nearby in exchange for 6.7 acres of church-owned land at the northeast corner of Cross Road and Honeygo Boulevard.

The county plans to use the land for a 25,000-square-foot library. It is also in discussions with the county school system to place a parking lot for 50 school buses behind the library.

Some residents have lobbied elected officials to oppose the parking lot, saying it would cause congestion and reduce property values.

"Something like this just really doesn't belong in any residential neighborhood, let alone a new development," Pam Cindric, president of The Fields at Perry Hall Farms community, said before last night's meeting. "Honeygo Boulevard already is just so congested."

Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, whose district includes the property, threatened last week to kill the land deal if the administration did not promise to put the bus depot on another site.

But Gardina, a Towson-Perry Hall Democrat, said that after consulting council members, he lacked the support to prevent the deal from coming up for a vote. He voted in favor of the deal last night after an assurance from the county's chief of land acquisition that the contract would not rule out the possibility of the bus depot being built elsewhere.

Donald I. Mohler, a spokesman for County Executive James T. Smith Jr., said the county is looking for alternative sites for the depot - though he added that other options could be more expensive.

In other action, a contract for a security firm to provide services at the county courthouse and government office buildings was withdrawn before a vote. The firm pulled out of the contract after some council members raised questions last week about its financial standing, said county budget chief Fred Homan. He said the county would try to arrange a contract with another bidder.

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