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.

Background

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.

Issue

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.

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.