School would ruin Mays Chapel

March 13, 2012

Regarding Hunt Valley resident Susan Brown's letter advocating building a school on property that has been referred to as Mays Chapel Park these past 20-plus years ("Mays Chapel school wouldn't detract from the area's natural beauty," March 11), her opinion is short sighted and doesn't recognize the value of the only piece of open land available for use by countless hundreds of property owners exercising and walking their dogs — and just enjoying the quiet of Mays Chapel Park.

Many hundreds of children and their coaches and trainers use the park for football, soccer and lacrosse — as at least a hundred or more were doing when I was there on Saturday. The park has long been an integral part of the value of all properties in the Mays Chapel area. Loss of that open area to a school defeats the park's "green" purpose that has brought enjoyment to adults and children alike for many years. It offers public recreation to many hundreds of parents and children who journey from areas outside of Mays Chapel to enjoy the facility. If it is lost, where will they go?

Having lived in Mays Chapel for 10 years, I find Ms. Brown's suggestion that there are many children living in the vicinity inaccurate. As one who travels the area each and every day, I see but one school bus in the area. The nearby apartments and condominiums are home to few, if any, children. Let no one be misled into believing this would serve Mays Chapel.

Ms. Brown's assertions that "the presence of a school in the area would not affect the natural beauty of the surroundings" or that people living in Mays Chapel might still walk the school grounds "if they wish" are overly rosy. Has the writer ever lived within 50 yards of a school filled with 700 students? How many school buses or private cars will they require? Think of the traffic volume on Padonia Road and subsidiary feeder roads.

And let us not forget that construction of a school of this magnitude will require loss of trees, loss of open space and limiting access on heavily-used Padonia Road as heavy construction equipment takes over. That heavy equipment will be in service for two years to meet a projected opening date in 2014. Are we prepared for this invasion?

Has Ms. Brown any idea of the mayhem that such a building will bring to the quiet and serenity of Mays Chapel that so many of us moved here to enjoy, whether retired, semi-retired or working?

I do not claim that additional school facilities are not needed in Baltimore County, but why disrupt a quiet residential area that has but one open park and sports area? Why demolish that park and build in its place a 700-seat school that eventually will bring to the area all of the traffic and people problems being experienced by too many schools today?

B. Howard, Mays Chapel

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