2016 / August 30
Councilwoman Almond followed the recommendations of the Baltimore County Planning Board and has kept existing zoning in place for all of Hidden Waters. Zoning on this entire property remains at DR1 density (1 house per acre). Sadly, this means that it is almost certain that a PUD (Planned Unit Development) application will follow shortly.

Zoning on the Shapiro Property, CZMP Issue 2-010, remains unchanged at DR2 density (2 houses per acre) as well.

Our thanks to everyone who has supported the OCGS positions on these issues. & Our special thanks to those who have contacted Councilwoman Almond and to those who have posted yard signs on our behalf. Signs will all be picked up on Wednesday, August 31st by mid-afternoon if they have not already been removed.

Please check our website often (URL info below) for updates on these and other neighborhood issues. Our Fall newsletter will be sent by US Post to OCGS members by the end of September. These will also be posted on our website, so check in often if you are interested in what’s going on in our neighborhood.

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Text of email sent mid-August, 2016:

This is our last chance to influence the Baltimore County Council's August 30th vote on these two important CZMP (Comprehensive Zoning Map Process) issues that affect us all.


OCGS positions:
Downzone CZMP Issue 2-029 to RC8, and downzone CZMP Issue 2-010 to DR-1. Our reasons are outlined below.

The issues:

CZMP Issue 2-029 - Hidden Waters.
Hidden Waters is the huge farm property located on the north side of Old Court Road between Stevenson Crossing and the Eden Roc development. The property is currently zoned DR-1. It is comprised of 148 acres. The University of Maryland System Foundation owns 25 acres and the France mansion where the University of Maryland Chancellor resides. The remaining 136 acres were owned by Willard Hackerman. Mr. Hackerman put all but the easternmost 25 acres into the Maryland Environmental Trust, protecting the larger portion of the property from development of any kind. Buzzuto Homes has requested DR-3.5 zoning on the entire property so that 80+ residential units (mostly in the form of  townhouses) could be built on the unprotected 25 acres. The Old Court-Greenspring Improvement Association, Inc. (OCGS) has countered by asking for RC8 (Environmental Enhancement) zoning which would limit residential units to 2 for the 25 acres. This is our hope. The Baltimore County District 2 Planner and the Baltimore County Planning Board have recommended that the property remain as DR-1. But the Baltimore County Council makes the final decision.

Whatever decision is made by the Baltimore County Council, Buzzuto homes has stated that they will file an application for a Planned Unit Development (PUD) with the County once the CZMP process is concluded. A PUD is used by developers as a tool to ignore all zoning regulations. If that application is accepted, even if the property is zoned RC8, OCGS has certain rights that will allow us to help shape any development. While the Baltimore County Council decides whether or not to accept a PUD application, an un-elected Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) makes the final decision to approve or reject the proposed building plans on an accepted application.  ALJ's rule 99% of the time in favor of developers. Appeals from an ALJ decision end up in court. We have won in court in the past, but it is expensive.

Please ask District 2 Councilwoman Vicki Almond to downzone Hidden Waters to RC8.

CZMP Issue 2-010 - The Shapiro property.
The Shapiro property is directly across Old Court Road from Beth Tfiloh. This 50 acre property is zoned DR2 (2 houses per acre) meaning that 100 residential units could theoretically be built on the property. An approved development plan exists for 50 dwelling units which expires in August 2018. The Pikesville-Greenspring Community Collation (PGCC), of which we are a member, has petitioned the Baltimore County Council to downzone this property to DR-1. This zoning change, if approved, would not affect the current approved development plan, but it would eliminate the possibility of additional units being built in the future. The Baltimore County District 2 Planner and the Baltimore County Planning Board have recommended that the existing DR-2 zoning designation be retained, but the final decision lies with the Baltimore County Council. Please ask the County Council to downzone this property to DR-1 in order to be sure the property is not over-developed relative to its neighbors.

Please ask District 2 Councilwoman Vicki Almond to downzone Hidden Waters to DR1.

District 2 County Councilwoman address:
Councilwoman Vicki Almond
Old Courthouse
400 Washington Ave.
Towson, MD 21204

County Council District 2 email:
council2@baltimorecountymd.gov