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Immaculate Conception Church plans to raze aging buildings to add parking

The Church of Immaculate Conception in Towson is working on taking down two aging buildings its parish manager, Bill Cunnane, called an “eyesore.”

The former residential buildings, which greet visitors at the church’s Joppa Road entrance with wooden slats covered in peeling white and gray paint, are so deteriorated that they can no longer be occupied, Cunnane said.

“To keep them, we would need to do quite a bit of work to bring them up to code,” Cunnane said. “We’re just going to apply that [effort instead] to improving the entrance.”

Engineers Michael Pieranunzi and Katherine Martin from Century Engineering, representing the church, asked permission from the county’s Development Review Committee Tuesday to raze the two buildings and replace them with parking spaces without going through the development process.

Development Manager Jan Cook, of the Baltimore County Government Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections, said the committee gave the church a “a.1.vi” limited exemption, which allows them to go directly to the building permit stage.

“There will still be County review when they apply for permits,” Cook wrote in an email. “They will also need to send in a letter to the Department of Planning asking for an administrative review of their project since it is in the Downtown Towson district.”

The church plans to add 22 parking spaces, Cunnane said.

Cunnane said the buildings, which were once a secondary rectory that housed priests, are not historic. The buildings do not currently have heat or water, he said, and are used only for storage.

No impermeable space will be added, and a large tree that stands at the entrance from Joppa Road will remain, he said.

Cunnane said he could not immediately estimate a timeline because it would depend on contractors’ availability.

After taking down the buildings, Cunnane said, the church will add parking spaces and redesign the flow of their easternmost parking lot. The sign at the entrance may also be improved, he said.

“The plan is to make this more welcoming,” Cunnane said.

asolomon@baltsun.com

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