A subsequent memo, issued a month later, dropped a specific zoning recommendation, instead saying: "A zoning classification that would allow less density on this site would reduce potential impacts to the aquatic community and trout resources downstream, and reduce pollutant loads from future development."

Nearby homeowners in Lutherville have many concerns they want the County Council to consider — including environmental resources, traffic and the effect housing development could have on residents' wells, said Michele Miller, whose property is next to the club's.

Congestion already plagues the area, resident Tom Goldbergh said. "These roads were not designed for heavy traffic."

Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat who had asked the county to evaluate the property's zoning, said she has toured the site and is concerned about environmental issues there. The country club sits outside the county's Urban-Rural Demarcation Line, which separates areas that have public water and sewer service from those that don't.

"We have to take a really hard look at our rural areas," said Almond, adding that it is not clear how much of the land could be developed for housing.

Almond and the rest of the council are set to vote on the issue and other zoning matters by mid-September. Both the planning board and planning staff have recommended no change in the property's current zoning.

Developers have turned other Baltimore-area golf courses into housing developments, including the Bonnie View Country Club in Mount Washington and Worthington Valley Country Club in Owings Mills.

That is why Marks wants to take precautions with the Mount Pleasant Golf Course, a city-owned property with a 37-acre portion in the county. The councilman, a Perry Hall Republican, is considering down-zoning the property, which is in the Loch Raven Boulevard corridor. At its current zoning, the land could someday be home to hundreds of apartments, he said.

"It may be a golf course today, but we have golf courses around the country that are selling off pieces of land for development or closing altogether," he said. "And I just have very little faith that Baltimore City will consult with Baltimore County or its communities if it decides to sell off that property. ... I don't have a crystal ball, but right now, that level of zoning allows for very intense development that I believe would strain Towson schools."

Jon Ladd, executive director of the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp., said he knows of no plans to sell or develop the Mount Pleasant course.

"It's a gem," Ladd said.

alisonk@baltsun.com

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