Balto. Co. Council approves plans for three residential developments

Baltimore County Council members on Monday approved preliminary plans for three residential developments: two senior-housing projects in the county's southwestern corner and a townhouse project in North Point.

The council unanimously signed off on "planned unit development" proposals for the projects. The designation lets developers build more densely than they would under regular zoning rules, on the condition that their project offer some community benefit. Such projects require County Council approval before local planning officials review them.

In one project, Enterprise Homes plans to build 72 affordable senior-housing units on a 4.5-acre site near Baltimore Highlands Elementary School. The development on Oak Road would be called the Greens at English Consul. The developer says it would benefit the community by partially funding training for the English Consul Volunteer Fire Department.

In another, Shelter Development wants to build a 140-unit Brightview Senior Living community on 5.5 acres of the Catonsville Y campus — a mix of apartments and assisted-living beds. The Y plans to use money from the land sale to upgrade its center. Improvements to South Rolling Road are planned to help ease congestion.

In North Point, Craftsmen Developers plans to construct 108 townhomes on 10.5 acres at the site of the former North Point Drive-In. The developer says it will pay for a new concession stand at North Point Park and a fishing pier at Battle Grove Park.

The council also approved a measure by Catonsville Democrat Tom Quirk and Perry Hall Republican David Marks that is meant to protect green space in the county's urban areas. The legislation will create a new zoning designation for land where development is prohibited. They say it would add another layer of protection to areas that private organizations have set aside as open space and could also help the county catalog scattered green spaces so residents and prospective homebuyers could look them up.

Also Monday, council members heard from Jon Monfred, a 2009 graduate of Pikesville High School who wants them to consider a bottle tax to pay for school improvements. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has proposed raising Baltimore City's bottle-tax to help fund school construction.

Monfred, who attends the University of Pennsylvania, said students at his alma mater need air conditioning because the building gets "ridiculously hot."

"It is a very poor learning environment," he said.