St. Francis Xavier allowed to build church, judge says


A Baltimore County Circuit Court judge has upheld the county Board of Appeals' decision to allow St. Francis Xavier parish to build a 650-seat church in Oregon Ridge.

Judge John Grason Turnbull 2nd affirmed the board's November ruling on Tuesday.

Residents who fought the ruling contended the building would spoil the area's quiet rural character.

Dr. Barbara Cochran, who led the opposition, said Judge Turnbull's decision will be appealed to the Court of Special Appeals.

Dr. Cochran said she is sensitive to the situation because she is a Roman Catholic. She said she opposed the church's building proposal because "at the same time the economy remains bad, and the Catholic Church is appealing for money for the homeless and for food, it is spending $3 million to build a church."

The Rev. Thomas J. Donellan, rector for St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church, could not be reached for comment.

The board granted a special zoning exception allowing St. Francis to build on a 27-acre tract between Cuba Road and Greencroft Lane, just north of Shawan Road. St. Francis has about 380 families from the Hunt Valley area.

The congregation gathers in the basement of a commercial building in a Hunt Valley business park.

The board's decision came two weeks after it approved a scaled-down, 500-seat church for the Hunt Valley Presbyterian Church, which will be on Beaver Dam Road next to Interstate 83.

The Valleys Planning Council Inc. opposes both church projects. The council represents people who believe the churches will bring more traffic and development west of Interstate 83.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad