Extending design rules beyond Honeygo sought


A Baltimore County councilman is seeking to expand strict residential design standards beyond Perry Hall's Honeygo area, as the Planning Department develops countywide building regulations endorsed in principle by the council last summer.

Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall Democrat, has made higher-quality development a signature issue, working to require larger lots for new developments on the county's east side. Last night, the council passed a bill he sponsored that dictates minimum lot widths for the Middle River and Bird River area.

The new proposal, to be voted on in two weeks, would expand the Honeygo residential design area to include a tract between Pulaski Highway and Philadelphia Road. Because significant development is planned in the area and it is adjacent to Honeygo, it makes sense to apply the same standards there, Gardina said.

The Honeygo standards specify minimum lot sizes, higher-quality building materials and streets that connect to one another.

Gardina said he doesn't want to wait for the Planning Department's recommendations because he doesn't know when they will be made or how strict they will be.

"I think it raises the quality up a notch," he said.

Also at last night's council meeting, Council Chairman John A. Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat, and Councilman Wayne M. Skinner, a Towson Republican, introduced a resolution calling for the Office of Community Conservation to promote homeownership programs in neighborhoods with high concentrations of renters.

The two councilmen, along with Gardina, have been working to create a rental registration system to strengthen county enforcement of zoning and livability codes and to establish a comprehensive listing of all rental properties in the county.

If the new bill passes, the information generated by the registration program will enable the county to help neighborhoods before rental properties dominate, Skinner said.

The bill is scheduled for a vote in two weeks. The sponsors say they're optimistic that it will pass, but none of the other four council members has expressed support for it. Most have expressed significant reservations.

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