By Raven L. Hill, The Baltimore Sun
7:48 PM EDT, June 21, 2011
Communities that were split up in the last round of redistricting are expected to be reunited under proposed changes to Baltimore County Council boundary lines.
The new map would keep all council members in their current districts. A council-appointed redistricting commission will meet Wednesday to discuss the proposals. Members of the commission were not available Tuesday for comment.
Among the changes under consideration, according to council members who are familiar with the plan: Parkville, Perry Hall, Reisterstown and Timonium would each be represented by one council member instead of being split between two; Carney would be represented by two instead of three. However, Democrats Kenneth N. Oliver and Tom Quirk differ over what section of Woodlawn should be added to Quirk's district in the southwestern part of the county.
Oliver, a Democrat who represents most of Woodlawn and Randallstown in District 4, had suggested moving the Featherbed Lane precinct to District 1, but Quirk wants to pick up the Woodlawn High School precinct instead.
"Are they going to redraw the lines where Woodlawn — a big economic engine — would be taken from me altogether? Something's wrong with this picture," said Oliver, adding that Quirk did not discuss the change with him. District 4 saw the most growth in the past decade.
Quirk said picking up the Woodlawn High School precinct would make his district more diverse and compact, uniting the Security Square business corridor.
"I'm confident that we will get it resolved amicably and come up with a solution that works well for both of us," said Quirk, a Democrat. "We share similar ideology on many issues and we work well together on lots of issues so I am sure we will get it figured out."
The commission is scheduled to submit recommendations to the council by July 1. The proposal was first reported by Patch.com.
Most of the Democratic-heavy council is pleased with the proposals, said Chairman John Olszewski Sr., an Edgemere Democrat who represents District 7 — the only one to lose residents in the past 10 years. He said he would pick up most of Essex and the Back River Neck Peninsula, putting it more in line with the General Assembly's 7th District.
Councilman Todd Huff, a Republican who represents District 3 in the northern part of the county, said he's pleased to see Timonium reunited in one district. The Mays Chapel neighborhood, for instance, fell into two council districts. Kingsville would be moved to District 5, which includes the county seat of Towson, represented by Republican Councilman David Marks.
"Kingsville and Perry Hall do a lot together," Huff said. "There's so much common ground between those two areas that it makes a lot of sense."
Marks said he was happy to see that politics did not appear to play a big part in the redistricting process.
"From what I understand, the map will largely strengthen all seven incumbents while reuniting some communities that were shattered 10 years ago," he said.
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