The idea of a government-imposed, three-year building moratorium in Perry Hall is dead. In its place is a plan for a voluntary ban.
The decision to arrange a pact among developers, government and community leaders was reached yesterday at a meeting attended by Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden, two County Council members, county planning and public works officials, Perry Hall residents, landowners and builders.
If all parties can work out the details -- such as how to enforce the agreement -- a voluntary, two-year ban would take effect immediately.
Mr. Hayden had first proposed the ban on a 3,000-acre parcel in Perry Hall last month, in response to complaints about overcrowded schools and services not keeping pace with new construction. But the executive couldn't get the five votes needed in the seven-member council to get it approved.
"We're past procrastination on this issue," Mr. Hayden said yesterday.
On Monday night, a busload of about 50 angry Perry Hall residents attended the County Council meeting to push for the moratorium in the area, called Honeygo. The county wants to keep the land undeveloped until a comprehensive plan for growth can be created.
The disputed area is bounded by Belair Road on the northwest, Gunpowder Falls on the north, Interstate 95 and Philadelphia Road on the southeast, and Honeygo Run and Chapel Road on the southwest.
Development in White Marsh-Perry Hall, an area designated by the county to absorb new growth, has increased way ahead of the county's ability to provide services. And the result has been congestion and complaints.
Local officials are worried that without the ban, they will have no chance to plan for public facilities such as roads, schools and sewers.
Stephen R. Smith, president of the county chapter of the Homebuilders Association of Maryland, said of a voluntary ban: "This is the right way to approach the issue."
Bernie Schwartz, whose family has farmed 120 acres for generations, and Larry Macks, a builder whose company owns 100 acres, both said they would be satisfied with a voluntary moratorium.