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Last public hearing for 3rd District rezoning requests set for June 26

By Pat van den Beemt, pvdb@comcast.net

June 21, 2012

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The final public hearing for rezoning issues filed in the 3rd District, affecting communities in North Baltimore County, will be held on June 26 at 7 p.m. at Loch Raven High School.

Speakers have two minutes to tell 3rd District Councilman Todd Huff and the rest of the County Council what they think about 71 requests for zoning changes within Huff's district.

Most speakers will be familiar faces to Huff. He said he has met with 90 percent of the landowners who are requesting a change, as well as opponents to change.

"I'm in strong negotiations with community groups and other people to come up with compromises," Huff said. "It's hard because some people want the sky and some people want zero."

In all, 296 issues were filed in Baltimore County during the Comprehensive Zoning Map Process, undertaken ever four years.The County Council will decide each issue before Sept. 16.

Huff has already received recommendations from the planning staff and the Planning Board. For the most part, the planners have rejected proposals to change zoning, especially to upzone land to allow more development.

Leaving the current zoning intact has been recommended for: the 66-acre Mt. Carmel Tree Farm on Mt. Carmel Road in Parkton; 105 acres on Quaker Bottom Road in Sparks; and on 175 acres on Stockton Road in Phoenix.

Planners also recommended against three issues submitted by the Sparks-Glencoe Community Planning Council. The nonprofit group asked that about 1,000 acres in Monkton, Parkton and White Hall be downzoned.

One issue that pits the community against the planners is the Obrecht Properties' request to build townhouses instead of office buildings on 19 acres off York Road in Sparks. Neighbors have collected more than 1,000 signatures of people opposing the change. Planners have recommended it be changed.

The planning staff gave no recommendation for the Manor Tavern's request to go from its current agriculture and business local zoning to business major. The Planning Board is recommending against the change.

The Manor Conservancy opposes the change, noting that if the Manor Tavern closed, a wide array of commercial or industrial businesses could operate there.

The 3rd District hearing begins at 7 p.m. on June 26. Speakers can sign up for times starting at 6 p.m.

Loch Raven High School is located at 1212 Cowpens Ave.