Councilman Marks strongly opposes child care center near Joppa Road and Honeygo Elementary School

David MarksUPDATE: The developer has dropped plans for the proposed child care center – details here.

Original story below…

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Baltimore County Councilman David Marks announced on Friday his strong opposition to a 10,000-square foot child care center proposed on East Joppa Road near the new Honeygo Elementary School.

The proposal, submitted on behalf of Joppa Road Daycare LLC, includes 56 parking spaces , with 24-foot entrances off Kahl Avenue and Joppa Road. The site is at 4805 East Joppa Road, as the road slopes downward toward Honeygo Elementary School.

Councilman Marks downzoned the property to its lowest residential development level, DR 1, in 2016. That level allows for one house per acre. The developer is seeking a special exception that allows for more intense development.

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“I downzoned this property in 2016 specifically because of the delicate traffic situation near Honeygo Elementary School,” Councilman Marks said. “In fact, we downzoned almost all the property west of Honeygo Boulevard to either open space or one house per acre. This proposal, submitted with no notice to my office or surrounding community organizations, ignores the spirit of my zoning change. It is out of character with the surrounding neighborhood and will worsen traffic, particularly since parents will be picking up or dropping kids around the same time as Honeygo Elementary School.”

A hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 25th at 1:30 p.m. in Room 205 of the Jefferson Building, 105 West Chesapeake Avenue in Towson.

“The county charter precludes me as a legislator from testifying in an executive branch hearing,” Councilman Marks concluded. ” I want residents to know that I wholeheartedly oppose this change and hope residents make their opinion known, one way or the other.”

Day Care Plans

Bill to bring 150 jobs to Middle River passes County Council

Baltimore CountyA bill introduced by Councilwoman Cathy Bevins allowing 150 new
manufacturing jobs to come to Middle River passed the Baltimore County Council with a unanimous vote at Monday’s Council Meeting.

Bill 21-18 Zoning Regulations – Cold Rolling Mills, adds the definition of Cold Rolling Mills to the Baltimore County Zoning Regulations.

Cold Rolling Mills produce thin sheets of metal often used to make beverage cans and other similar products by compressing aluminum stock between rollers.

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By adding the definition of Cold Rolling Mills to the County Zoning Regulations, Empire Resources, Inc. – a distributor of value added, semi-finished metal products – will bring 150 manufacturing jobs to the former Worthington Steel site on Kelso Drive and Martin Boulevard.

“Introducing this bill to allow 150 jobs come to Middle River was a no brainer,” said Councilwoman Bevins. “After discussions with the community this legislation received the support of the Essex Middle River Civic Council and the Aero Acres Community Association. The
decision to bring quality manufacturing jobs to Middle River shows the meaningful investment private industry is making in the Sixth District and that our efforts at the county level, to grow the economy and create jobs are working.”

Baltimore County Council requires better notice of development hearings

Baltimore CountyAt its meeting on Monday, March 5, the Baltimore County Council passed legislation that will improve the advertisement process for proposed zoning and development hearings.

Current law requires notice of zoning hearings to be conspicuously posted on the property for a period of at least 20 days before the date of the hearing, and published in at least one newspaper of general circulation at least 20 days before the hearing. Notice is also posted on the county’s internet site, but without any language as to where on the County website and for how long.

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Bill 6-18, cosponsored by all County Council members, requires the notice on the internet to be specifically posted on the “Zoning and Development Hearings Calendar” and the “Community Update Newsletter” webpages for at least 15 days before the hearing. The legislation also says that the Administrative Law Judge mat not consider the Development Plan unless the property subject to the plan has been posted accordingly.

Councilwoman Cathy Bevins praised passage of the legislation.

“I have long supported better notification for communities so they can understand and take a position on pending developments,” Bevins said.

Councilman David Marks echoed those sentiments.

“Since 2010, the County Council has passed legislation that strengthens openness and transparency, including requiring that Community Input Meetings be held close to impacted neighborhoods,” Marks said.

Councilman Marks applauds legislation to preserve Hawks Hollow Farm

marks-hawks-hollowOn Monday, the Baltimore County Council passed legislation sponsored by Councilman David Marks that will preserve Hawks Hollow Farm, a longtime horse stable in Kingsville.

For 21 years, Hawks Hollow Farm has given families the opportunity to ride horses and enjoy the countryside. Earlier this year, the farm faced thousands of dollars in legal fees when a Baltimore County inspector claimed the farm was out of zoning compliance.

Under the legislation sponsored by Councilman Marks, long-standing stables that have been in operation for at least 15 years are considered in zoning compliance in the RC-5 zoning area.

“We should not force family farms and stables to spend thousands of dollars seeking a special exception if they have been good neighbors for the past 15 years,” Councilman Marks commented. “We should be doing all we can to help these rural businesses, which help make places like Kingsville special in Baltimore County.”

“Hawks Hollow Farm thanks Councilman Marks for his work in preserving our family business,” added Robert Weyforth, owner of the farm. “Councilman Marks worked with us and saved us thousands of dollars that we can now use to improve our stables, which are used by many visitors every year.”

Hawks Hollow Farm is located at 7615 Bradshaw Road.

Citing school overcrowding, Councilman Marks recommends largest downzoning in Perry Hall history

Baltimore CountyCurrent Projections Show Perry Hall Middle at 2,048 Students by 2024

On Thursday morning, Baltimore County Councilman David Marks announced plans to downzone more than 1,268 acres in an effort to force action to address current overcrowding at Perry Hall Middle School and future issues at Perry Hall High School. The move is believed to be the largest downzoning in Perry Hall history.

“I do not relish taking these steps, which I know will be opposed by some property owners, but we cannot allow development to occur at the rate allowed by the current zoning while these schools grow more and more crowded,” Councilman Marks commented.

Enrollment Growth at Perry Hall Schools

Perry Hall Middle School’s enrollment is expected to climb from 1,737 students in 2015 to 2,048 students by 2024, according to Baltimore County Public Schools projections. Put another way, the school was at 105.7 percent capacity last year, a figure that will soar to 124.7 percent in 2024.

Perry Hall High School’s enrollment will climb from 2.067 students in 2015—97.9 percent—to 2,498 students in 2024, or 118.4 percent.

The Impact of Rezoning

Zoning affects what can be built on any piece of property. Last November, Councilman Marks initiated a review of thousands of acres of land in the Fifth District in an effort to preserve green space and reduce school overcrowding. Five of the zoning issues included in today’s announcement were initiated by Councilman Marks (5-041, 5-045, 5-088, 5-104, and 5-105). Three were initiated by the Perry Hall Improvement Association (PHIA)—5-027, 5-028, and 5-029. The zoning recommendations will protect 678 acres as open space through Neighborhood Commons, and 589 acres as DR 1 or DR 1H, or one house per acre.

Moving Forward

“The PHIA proposed downzoning of hundreds of acres to reduce school overcrowding, lessen demand on public services and ensure that any future development is sustainable,” commented PHIA President Jack Amrhein on behalf of the organization. “We thank Councilman Marks for responding to the community’s concerns by substantially lowering the development potential on land in Perry Hall. We look forward to continuing to work with Councilman Marks on a multi-pronged approach that includes limiting development, alleviating traffic congestion, building a new elementary school for Perry Hall, and finding solutions for overcrowding in our middle and high schools.”

Councilman Marks and other community leaders are pushing for the Board of Education to designate a site and include design money for a new middle school in next year’s budget.

“The Northeast Area Education Advisory Council of Baltimore County is proud to partner with Councilman Marks on efforts to improve the quality of our community schools, particularly in Perry Hall, where schools have been overcrowded for decades,” commented Julie Henn, chair of the advisory council. “We strongly support the initiative to slow development through downzoning and will continue to work with local leaders to secure adequate investments for new northeast school construction.”

Combined PHHS and PHMS