'Green' issue on council agenda

The Baltimore Sun

Windmills used to provide power to houses would be regulated under a measure being considered by Baltimore County lawmakers.

The proposed resolution, introduced by Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, directs the county Planning Board to propose amendments that would regulate the location and use of windmills for residential energy.

Gardina, a Towson-Perry Hall Democrat, said the regulations would be designed to encourage residents to install windmills.

The measure, a topic at yesterday's council work session and scheduled for a vote during Monday's council session, comes as a zoning commissioner considers the request of a northern Baltimore County couple who want to erect a windmill as part of their plan to build a "green" home that draws energy from renewable sources.

Carroll County lawmakers tweaked their zoning ordinance in May to allow residents to install wind turbines. And the state has begun offering grants to help people pay for them.

In Baltimore County, a windmill is considered an accessory structure, subject to the same restrictions as objects such as sheds. Property owners must get a variance if the turbine is taller than 15 feet.

In other business, county lawmakers are considering transferring about $12 million to school projects such as resurfacing parking lots, after the school board rejected spending the money on an expansion of Loch Raven High School.

The transfer of funds, a capital budget appropriation, comes at the request of county school officials and County Executive James T. Smith Jr., who had initially earmarked the money to expand Loch Raven High and ease crowding at the school.

But the expansion was rejected last month by the school board, which unanimously voted to rescind its approval of the proposed addition.

An age-restricted condominium complex proposed in Catonsville as a planned unit development, or PUD, also is to be introduced at the Monday meeting.

The Thistle Road project will be discussed at the July 29 work session.

The proposal comes from Jeffrey C. Kirby, founder of J. Kirby Development LLC, whose recent plans to build senior housing complexes in Columbia have been unsuccessful.

Two proposals about the county's rental registration program are set to be introduced Monday.

One proposal, one co-sponsored by all seven council members, would extend the deadline for property owners to have their rental units inspected, and another proposal, by Councilman T. Bryan McIntire, a north county Republican, that would end the program will be discussed at the council's July 29 work session.

"Most of it is unenforceable," said McIntire of the current requirements, passed by the council last year and which took effect yesterday.

Community leaders in Dundalk and Towson support the program because, they say, it helps crack down on unsafe and poorly maintained rental properties.


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