Marks' zoning recommendations maintain Towson open space

Fifth District County Councilman David Marks has announced the first in a series of recommendations he'll make on zoning requests being made as part of the county's Comprehensive Zoning Map Process.

The first wave, announced Wednesday night, all call for keeping undeveloped land as open space — including some tracts owned by Baltimore City.

"With these changes, we would lower the development potential for several key neighborhood parcels in Towson," Marks said in a statement. "I am particularly concerned about the city-owned parcels, because I have little faith the city would consult the county if the land were to be sold for development."

Two of the three sites he made recommendations on are city-owned tracts.

One, the Wachs Water Works facility, a 1-acre parcel east of Aigburth Avenue, would be lowered from DR-16, which allows 16 units per acre, to DR-1, which allows just one, "to prevent overdevelopment if the city ever sells the property," Marks said.

Neighbors of the facility lament that it's an eyesore and nuisance, and should an alternative location be found for the city's water maintenance depot, they have sought for the land to be protected.

The other city-owned parcel, an 8.5-acre plot south of Hillen Road and west of Stevenson Lane that includes the Towson Reservoir, will be lowered from DR-5 and DR-2 to DR-1 NC.

The NC designation — which stands for neighborhood commons — stems from a bill Marks sponsored earlier this year that prevents development on designated open space.

The third Marks recommendation would also protect open space using the neighborhood commons designation. The Burkleigh Square Community Park, which sits on 1.2 acres south of Burke Avenue, will be downzoned to DR-5.5 to DR-1 NC.

The County Council held its 5th District CZMP hearing on June 4, and is scheduled to hold meetings for the remaining six council districts this month.

Ultimately, Marks has the final say on the 5th District issues, with the council deferring to each district's representative for the decision on each.

The CZMP package will be voted on by the council at a special session on Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

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