Traffic Safety on Falls Road near Applecroft still a concern

History of the Becker Property Development Plan

In 2003 the FRCA opposed the proposed development plan for the Becker property, a parcel of 79 acres located on Falls Road (12100 block) just south of Applecroft Lane. The original proposal consisted of 20 homes, with access to 8 lots off Ridgemont Road, 1 off Wally Court and 11 off Falls Road. The FRCA was concerned about potential environmental impacts on the partially wooded and hilly parcel, and traffic safety near the Falls Road entrance. Over the course of several years, there were hearings and rulings on the proposal. During the latter stages of the process, FRCA worked with representatives of Gaylord Brooks (the second developer involved with the project) to modify the plan and successfully remedy several environmental issues. In 2006, Deputy Zoning Commissioner John Murphy approved development of 8 lots off Ridgemont Road and 1 on Wally Court, but denied approval of the lots off Falls Road, in part because of concern about traffic safety issues in the area. The main issues were: 1) inadequate sight distances, 2) the access road was not aligned with Hickory Hill Road, and 3) access was by public road.

A modified plan, 2015

A modified development plan for the Falls Road lots was submitted to the County in 2015. The new plan allowed for one existing home to remain and the addition of 8 new homes on the 59-acre Falls Road portion of the property, with a public road to serve the 9 homes. Both the County and the FRCA had traffic experts testify, and both testified that the AASHTO intersection sight distance standard was not met by the development plan. Administrative Law Judge/Hearing Officer John Beverungen denied approval of the plan in August 2016. He noted that he was bound by the doctrines of res judicata and collateral estoppel, i.e., that he was bound by the issues and conditions set forth in the Oct. 2006 order by John Murphy that there had to be “substantial” changes from the original development plan for the Falls Road portion to be approved in the future. Two fewer homes was not deemed a “substantial” change.

Another modified plan, 2018

Another modified plan was submitted to the County in 2018 allowing for 6 homes – one existing, 5 new homes, with access by a private road. ALJ Beverungen approved the new plan on February 6, 2019. He considered the 50% reduction in number of 5 new homes from the original 10, a private rather than public access road, and individual storm water management devices on each lot rather than one large one, to be more numerous and significant than just the 2 fewer homes proposed in 2016. Based on these facts, Judge Beverungen opined that he was not bound by the doctrines of res judicata/collateral estoppel because they “do not apply if applicant can show there has been a substantial change in fact and circumstances”.

Traffic safety a substantial concern

While the number of homes has been reduced to 6 and the access road will be private rather than public, the FRCA contends that traffic safety remains a serious issue. There are still too many points of ingress/egress within a very short stretch of Falls Road, and the inadequate sight distances still exist. There have been numerous serious accidents at the site in the past.  FRCA has appealed the ruling, and it will be heard May 1 at 10 AM in Room 206, 105 W Chesapeake Avenue, Towson.

FRCA Annual Dinner – September, 26, 2018


You are cordially invited to the Falls Road Community Association annual dinner on Wednesday, September 26, 2018 at the Oregon Ridge Lodge.

  • 5:50 – cocktails (beer and wine)
  • 6:30 – buffet dinner
  • 7:15 – meeting

Cocktails, dinner, and the meeting for only $15.00 per person

We expect candidates for election to County offices to join us, as well as other elected officials.  The program will include a brief update of current zoning and land use issues.


Speaker will be announced soon.

Questions and issues of importance to the members of the community association will be addressed as well.

RSVP to the Dinner

To reserve your place at the dinner, please send $15.00 per person along with your name, address, and phone number to:

FRCA, PO Box 555, Brooklandville, MD 21022

Please make checks payable to “The FRCA”.

For more information, please call Carol at (410) 252-8662.

Please RSVP by September 19.  Walk-ins accepted.

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Board of Appeals Enters Judgment Against Developer in Chestnut Ridge Golf Course Reclassification Case


The Baltimore County Board of Appeals has declined to reverse the decision of the County Council to rezone the former Chestnut Ridge Country Club property enacted during the 2012 quadrennial Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP).  This will leave the developable density for the property at a maximum of 9 houses.


In 2012 the County Council changed the zoning of the 232 acre former Chestnut Ridge Country Club property from RC5 (maximum development) to RC7 (environmental preservation). Shortly thereafter, the owner of the property, hoping to subdivide the Property into as many as 85 lots, petitioned the County to reclassify the Property to RC5, claiming that the County Council’s action was a mistake.

Last summer, after the developer finally finished putting on all its evidence, the Community asked the County Board of Appeals to dismiss the Petition. The Community argued that, even if the Board accepted all the evidence as true, the developer could not prevail.

This morning the three member Board panel deliberated in public. The non-lawyer member stated that he thought the Petitioner’s evidence was overwhelming and that he was convinced the Council’s decision to change the zoning of the property was wrong and should be changed.

The next member of the Board to speak said that, although he basically agreed with the first speaker, as a Maryland lawyer, he understood the law, in particular the 1995 Beachwood case (107 Md. App. 627), to be clear and controlling and that the BOA was not permitted to reclassify the zoning of the Property.

The Board chair, Maureen Murphy, Esquire, then spoke at length. She summarized relevant MD law, emphasizing the instructions of the Beachwood case:

— the BOA “may not substitute its judgment for that of the County Council,”

— even a finding by BOA that the zoning decision “of the County Council under review was wrong, ill-advised, or unsuitable is not an adequate finding of an actual mistake or error,”

— the burden is on the Petitioner “to show both 1) the then-existing conditions that allegedly made the comprehensive zoning incorrect and also 2) the literal failure of the County Council even to have considered those conditions,”

— It is presumed that at the time of the adoption of zoning, “the Council had before it and did, in fact, consider all of the relevant facts and circumstances then existing.”

Accordingly, the Board voted 2 to 1 to grant the Motions and enter Judgment against the developer. The developer may, of course, appeal the decision. Moreover, the developer is asserting tremendous pressure on the County Executive, Council, and particularly 2nd District Council Member Vicky Almond to allow the destruction of this incredibly beautiful and environmentally sensitive land.

St. Paul’s School Plans to Build 8,000 sq. ft. Shed with Sewer Hook-up

Public Hearing

On March 6 at 10 a.m., there will be a hearing before the Baltimore County Board of Appeals to determine whether St. Paul’s School can build a large, 8,000 sq. ft. maintenance building on the floor of the Greenspring Valley.


The Valleys Planning Council (VPC) is appealing two recent decisions by the county allowing the school to construct this building behind the historic homes, known as Emerson Farms, on Greenspring Valley Road. The building will include a large conference area, offices, and restrooms and will be used by maintenance workers and contractors.

VPC and FRCA supported a special exception for the school back in the late ’80s. At that time, the school was considered a non-conforming use in the RC2 zone, and as such, faced a growth restriction of 25% of existing square footage. To give the school some additional room to grow and flexibility, parties agreed to a special exception for the school that included a building envelope.


The proposed maintenance building is outside that building envelope, and the school is also seeking an amendment to the county water and sewer plan to allow hook-up to the existing restricted public sewer line serving Emerson Farms.

That line was a 2″ extension outside the URDL allowed in 1996 to address an emergency situation at the historic homes. The amendment specifically stated that it was to serve only the historic homes.

VPC opposed the school’s request to hook into that line for this new building, but the Planning Board recommended approval and the County Council granted it. That decision must ultimately be approved by the Maryland Department of Environment, and a preliminary finding by the Maryland Department of Planning found that the amendment was not consistent with the Master Plan.

Any FRCA member who is concerned about this project or who may have information helpful to the VPC is urged to contact Teresa Moore at 410-337-6877 and/or attend the March 6 hearing.

The hearing will take place in the Jefferson Building at 105 W. Chesapeake Avenue, Room 206 at 10 a.m.

Community crime alert – 11/17/13

Recent Rash of Breaking and Entering

There have been multiple house robberies in our area this fall. If you see anything unusual in your neighborhood, such as a vehicle or person you do not recognize lingering about, PLEASE contact the police.

Police Advise Calling for all Suspicious Activity

The Cockeysville Precinct has advised the FRCA for many years that they would prefer too investigate many false alarms that to miss a single authentic alarm!

Protect your home!

Protect your neighborhood!


Chestnut Ridge Country Club 2nd Community Input Meeting


Monday, November 4th, at 7 P.M.,

About the meeting

The second & final Community Input Meeting (“CIM”) addressing the communities concerns about the proposed housing development of the Chestnut Ridge Country Club Property.

This meeting Is your opportunity to learn the impact that this proposed development will have on our roads, our wells, our streams, and our environment and to voice your opinion!

Be there or do not complain this time next year when this travesty can’t be undone.

The Meeting Is Open to the Public.

Your attendance will make a difference!


Mays Chapel United Methodist Church

11911 Jenifer Road, Timonium, MD, 21093

Chestnut Ridge Country Club community update – October 2013


As many of you know, the Valleys Planning Council, along with the Falls Road Community Association and a number of organizations and individuals, supported the downzoning of the Chestnut Ridge Country Club property during the 2012 CZMP. The 232-acre property on Falls Road just sought of Padonia/Broadway was ultimately downzoned from RC5 to RC7, and that downzoning is now being challenged. The issue is a hot one, with battles on multiple fronts. During the rezoning cycle, Councilwoman Vicki Almond received an outpouring of calls, letters and emails regarding the property and made the courageous decision to downzone the property in an effort to protect Dipping Pond Run and curb the pressure on existing infrastructure already bursting at the seams. Those that support the new, more restrictive zoning are joining together to oppose an attempt to undo the zoning change and reinstate the former RC5 zoning. We hope you will join us in these efforts to maintain the more restrictive RC7 zoning. We believe our case is strong and that the evidence is clear that there was no error committed on the part of the Baltimore County Council. Below is a brief summary of what has transpired and what is coming next.


November 2011

Chestnut Ridge Country Club, a 230-acre property on Falls Road, closed after 50 years of operation.

February 2012

Chestnut Ridge Country Club purchased by Armando Cignarale, a local developer who runs Cignal Corp. The property was purchased for $5.3 million with no contingencies regarding its future development.

August 2012

Baltimore County Council downzoned the Chestnut Ridge Country Club Property, changing the zoning from RC5 to RC7. This changed the maximum residential density from 114 homes to 9 homes.

December 2012

Owner/developer of CRCC filed suit against Baltimore County in the Circuit Court, suing for $10 million and a return to the RC5 zoning. In May 2013, the Circuit Court dismissed the lawsuit after the county argued that the developer should have exhausted the county’s administrative appeals process first.

February 2013

Owner/developer of CRCC filed a Petition for Reclassification with the Baltimore County Board of Appeals, claiming that the County Council made an error in changing the zoning on the property from RC5 to RC7.

 June 2013

Adopting the position of the Baltimore County planning staff, the County Planning Board advised the County Board of Appeals that the County Council made an error in downzoning the property. The Planning Board brushed aside Maryland law and legal arguments with regard to the magnitude of “error” required to justify reclassification overriding the County Council’s vote. Instead the Planning Board simply reiterated its recommendation during the 2012 CZMP that the zoning should be maintained as RC5.

Upcoming Actions

October 2013

The case before the Board of Appeals will begin. The hearing will open on October 30; however, the developer’s attorneys have said they plan to open the case, file an amended petition, and ask for a delay until December.

October 28, 2013

The developer and county will hold a Community Input Meeting at 7 p.m. on a proposed 8-lot plan under the existing RC7 zoning. The meeting was scheduled for the same date and time as the FRCA annual meeting. (The developer hopes to go forward with a 60-70 lot plan if he can get the zoning changed, but this is an interim or fallback plan that could be approved under the current zoning.) The meeting will be held at the Mays Chapel Methodist Church on Jennifer Road in Timonium.

November 4, 2013

The developer and county will hold a second Community Input Meeting at 7 p.m. on a proposed 8-lot plan under the existing RC7 zoning. The meeting will be held at the Mays Chapel Methodist Church on Jennifer Road in Timonium. A second meeting was scheduled due to the conflict with the FRCA meeting.

December 2013

The Board of Appeals case goes forward. Dates scheduled for the hearing are: December 10, 11, 17, and 18.

You Can Help

Many residents took the time to contact Councilwoman Almond during the 2012 CZMP to express their concern about future development of the property and requesting a downzoning. Your continued expressions of support are needed. Our most pressing need at the moment is to raise funds for the legal and expert fees associated with the upcoming Board of Appeals hearing. Please consider sending in a tax-deductible contribution to the VPC for this project today. We need to raise $15,000 in the next six weeks to see us through this first and most important phase. If everyone who is concerned chips in, we will have sufficient resources. Special project contributions are used exclusively for legal and expert fees associated with the case. VPC has engaged the services of attorney Richard Burch for the zoning reclassification case.

Please make a tax-deductible donation to this special project today by sending a check to:

The Valleys Planning Council

PO Box 5402

Towson, Maryland 20185

Write “Chestnut Ridge” in check memo line.


Referendum to Overturn All District 2 CZMP Decisions (which would restore RC5 to Chestnut Ridge)

On a related front, VPC has joined with several other groups to oppose the Referendum initiative that has been spearheaded by the developers opposed to the Solo Cup site redevelopment known as Foundry Row. Several developers displeased with zoning changes in the last cycle are supporting that effort. Those seeking the Referendum hope to put an issue on the 2014 election ballot with the goal of overturning all District 2 CZMP decisions. If the referendum were successful, the changes to Chestnut Ridge and other zoning changes in District 2 would be overturned, restoring the prior zoning.

Many residents reported questionable tactics and misleading information during the petition drive. The Board of Elections found the petitions “deficient” and denied the request to put the item to referendum. Those seeking the referendum have filed an appeal of that decision with the Circuit Court. The VPC and other parties have filed a motion to dismiss the appeal, believing that the parties filing the appeal do not have standing. The Circuit Court case has been assigned to Judge Alexander. A scheduling conference is set for October 23rd and a Motions Hearing is set for November 26 at 9:30 a.m. Attorney J. Carroll Holzer is representing the VPC, the Meadows HOA, and the Greater Greenspring Association. VPC is not requesting funds for the referendum case but is very much in need of funds for the reclassification case. 

For additional info, call the Valleys Planning Council office at 401-337-6877.

FRCA Annual Dinner – October 28, 2013


You are cordially invited to the Falls Road Community Association annual dinner on Monday, October 28, 2013, at the Oregon Ridge Lodge.

  • 5:50 – cocktails (beer and wine)
  • 6:30 – buffet dinner
  • 7:15 – meeting

Cocktails, dinner, and the meeting for only $10.00 per person

Come and hear about important events in the community such as zoning and land use issues such as the development of the Chestnut Ridge Country Club and the Mays Chapel Elementary School.

Our guest speaker will be the renowned environmentalist, writer, and journalist, Mr. Tom Horton.

Invite your neighbors!  Give them a copy of our community notice in local papers with all of the details.


The dinner will be followed by a meeting including updates from the Board of Directors and a talk by Mr. Horton.

Tom Horton is a renowned environmentalist and long-time champion of the environment in Maryland.  He is an award winning author of eight books about the Chesapeake Bay and is best known as a Baltimore Sun columnist from 1972 to 2006.

Questions and issues of importance to the members of the community association will be addressed as well.

RSVP to the Dinner

To reserve your place at the dinner, please send $10.00 per person along with your name, address, and phone number to:


PO Box 555

Brooklandville, MD 21022

Please make checks payable to “The FRCA”.

For more information, please call Carol at (410) 252-8662.

Please RSVP by October 21st.

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President’s Message – September 2013

Our Annual Dinner is set this year for Monday, October 28, 2013.  For many years our community has gathered every fall to break bread together and discuss the state of our community.  So, please come share a good meal with beer, wine, soft drinks included for the ridiculous price of $10/person.  The evening concludes with a brief business meeting at which we elect officers and directors, and everyone leaves well-fed and content to return home under our tranquil, rural, star-lit sky.  But what if there were no officers or directors to elect?

The Falls Road Community Association has been the guardian of the Falls Road community for more than 65 years.  Against the unrelenting pressure of developers and their political spawn to destroy our beautiful land, the FRCA has been a counter-balancing force of preservation.  Just last year the FRCA played an essential role in the campaign that persuaded our County Council Member Vicki Almond to downzone the 232 acre Chestnut Ridge Country Club property from RC 5 for maximum development (up to 115 houses) to RC 7 for Resource Preservation (9 houses).  Our community was thus spared the devastating effect on our traffic, wells, and streams of additional 50-100 homes on Falls Road.

But the FRCA cannot continue without volunteers.  Only a handful of folks still attend Board meetings, and a few of them have served more than 20 years, and the average length of service exceeds 10 years.  But time marches on, and your Board members have aged.  Retirement and grand-children consume more time, and it becomes harder every month to muster the energy to do what must be done.  So, sometimes “IT” does not get done

County to conduct Mays Chapel Elementary Ground Breaking on 04/26/13

Ground Breaking for School

The County has scheduled a ground breaking ceremony for the proposed Mays Chapel Elementary School at 12250 Roundwood Road, Timonium 21093 on Friday, April 26, 2013 at 10:30 AM.  County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will be in attendance according to his public schedule.

Community Opposition to the School

According to community leaders, the opposition to the building of the new elementary school on the site of the existing Mays Chapel Park is overwhelming.  The Save Mays Chapel Park organization has been involved in opposing the building of the school at the Mays Chapel Park location for nearly two years.

Significantly Better Alternatives Are Available

Representatives of the surrounding communities have been vocal in presenting more cost effective alternatives to the placement of a school outside of the area where overcrowding exists, necessitating the busing of students and unnecessary rezoning.  Expansion of the buildings at the existing overcrowded elementary schools is eminently feasible on the existing properties, is much less expensive for the taxpayers, and addresses the actual problem of overcrowding at the specific location where the additional capacity is needed.

Heavy-handed Approach by County Government

The County government in its various forms has taken what many residents consider an authoritarian approach to the entire project operating without the transparency that the citizens expect and at times failing to follow the clearly defined laws and regulations that govern such activities.  Information is circulating in the community that the County does not have the required permits to conduct the construction activities which have been scheduled.

School Not a Foregone Conclusion

There continues to be significant opposition to the school construction from a passionate group of citizens committed to retaining the park in its current form and shining a light on the common sense, less costly, more community friendly alternatives that have been proposed but have been disregarded by County Executive Kamenetz and the School Board.

The community groups have indicated their willingness to pursue their efforts to oppose the school and  expose what they believe are improper actions counter to the benefit of the local communities, as well as Baltimore County and Maryland tax payers.