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

Councilman Marks to recommend 18 acres for open-space zoning near Gunpowder River

Baltimore CountyBaltimore County Councilman David Marks on Monday announced that he would recommend that 18 acres of state-owned property along Interstate-95 near the Gunpowder River be zoned as Neighborhood Commons, or open space.

The land straddles I-95 and bisects Forge Road and Bangert and Bush Streets.

Councilman Marks will recommend that the residential land in this area be zoned DR 1H, or one house per acre, to retain the rural character of this area.

“As we conclude the rezoning process, we have announced decisions that preserve green space and lower the intensity of development throughout the Fifth District,” Councilman Marks commented.

The zoning issue is 5-154. The County Council will vote on the zoning maps on August 30th.

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Councilman Marks acts to preserve open space in northern Perry Hall

Fox Farm RoadOn Wednesday, Baltimore County Councilman David Marks announced that he will recommend downzoning a large area of northern Perry Hall to preserve open space and lighten the impact of future development on school overcrowding.

5-056 and 5-072 include 150 acres of land stretching from the Klausmier Road area east to Schroeder Avenue and Belair Road. Presently zoned for a blend of commercial uses, single-family homes and townhouses, Councilman Marks will recommend that much of the undeveloped property be downzoned to preserve open space and lighten school overcrowding.

Councilman Marks will recommend that Neighborhood Commons zoning be applied to 27 acres, blocking any development whatsoever. The seven acres of land that was once planned for the Gunview Road alignment would be zoned RC 7, the most restrictive type of zoning reserved for rural parts of Baltimore County.

More than 96 acres would be zoned one house per acre, the lightest residential development allowed in the county’s urbanized area.

“With the adoption of the 2016 zoning maps, we are taking steps to preserve the character of northern Perry Hall, protect green space, and lighten school overcrowding,” Councilman Marks commented. “I am particularly pleased that with this rezoning cycle, we will zone much of the old Gunview Road alignment for the most restrictive land use in Baltimore County, and that we will limit future growth in pastoral area near Schroeder Avenue.”