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Plan to add four single-family homes to Paradise property approved Thursday

Plans for the property that contains Boxwood, a residence that dates back to the late 1800s, were the topic of a hearing in Towson last week. Owners Carl and Laurel Koziol want to build four single-family homes on the property in the Paradise community of Catonsville.
Plans for the property that contains Boxwood, a residence that dates back to the late 1800s, were the topic of a hearing in Towson last week. Owners Carl and Laurel Koziol want to build four single-family homes on the property in the Paradise community of Catonsville. (Staff photo by Lauren Loricchio)

A plan to add four single-family residences to a 2.737-acre property in Catonsville was approved by a Baltimore County administrative law judge at a combined zoning and development plan hearing in Towson on Thursday.

The property, located at 11 South Belle Grove Road in the Paradise community, is owned by Carl and Laurel Koziol.

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Carl Koziol, an electrical superintendent, bought the home in 1986. The couple began looking into the process of adding additional dwellings to the property in 2007.

But opposition from the Paradise Community Association, concerned the couple would tear down a historic home on the property and build an apartment complex, forced them to adjust their plan.

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"There was talk about turning it into apartments," said 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk.

The two-story residence is known as "Boxwood" and is in the rural vernacular style, according to county records. It was the home of "Belle Grove" mansion employees who worked for Darius Carpenter, a wealthy merchant who lived in the mansion, according to county records.

The mansion was built in 1849, according to a book on Catonsville history by Marsha Wight Wise.

Boxwood was added to the Baltimore County Final Landmarks List Dec. 31, 2012, at the request of Paradise residents because the property owners planned to raze the building and turn it into a housing development, said James Laughlin, president of the association.

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Neighbors also worried that apartments would increase traffic on the already narrow residential road, Laughlin said.

"They wanted to create a cul-de-sac at the end of the street. That would have made the community less walkable," Laughlin said.

Because it is designated as a historic property, it is protected from being demolished. The owners must follow certain guidelines when making adjustments to the exterior of the building and must receive approval from the Landmark Preservation Commission to make those changes.

Quirk said the plan approved last week reflects a compromise between the property owners and the Paradise community.

Laughlin voiced no objections at the Nov. 6 hearing.

"On behalf of the community, we have no issues with the red line," Laughlin said in the small courtroom, referring to the line on the map denoting the changes.

Laurel Koziol said her husband had worked hard to restore the home to a livable state after it fell into disrepair.

The owners have no immediate plan to build the homes, but are working with a builder, they said.

"I feel that it's going to help the community here," Carl Koziol said. "There's not a lot of homes available so I think it's going to benefit this neighborhood."

The couple has been working with Main Street Builders to develop a plan for the four new homes to be built on the property, although they haven't sold the property to the company yet, Carl Koziol said.

A price for the homes has not been established yet, said Maxwell Vidaver, an urban planner at Colbert Max Rosenfelt, Inc., an engineering firm that created the plan.

According to a pattern book of the property, the four homes will be approximately 2,300 square feet above ground. Each home will have two stories and a garage.

"We have it all set up so that if we do decide to do it, we can," said Laurel Koziol, adding that the couple will continue to live in the historic home.

"We love our home — we love our property. So we're just trying to make this the best that it can be," she said.

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