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.

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!

 

Forest Restoration at Oregon Ridge Park

The FRCA understands that the County will be cutting down a limited number of trees within the western boundary of the Oregon Ridge Park.

A few months ago, Don Outen of DEPS spoke at the Oregon Ridge Nature Center in connection with the development of a Small Watershed Action Plan for the watershed that includes the Park. In a dynamic and enlightening presentation, Mr Outen explained that more than a 100 years ago, before there was a Park, the area was completely logged. As a result, the succeeding generation of trees started growing more or less simultaneously and are now approaching maturity.

A detailed study of the forest system at Oregon Ridge has revealed that the trees are greatly overcrowded in places and, with additional pressure from deer, are not regenerating. As a result, the forest is under stress and will be subject to waves of mortality, such as the recent loss of 18 acres due to a Gypsy moth infestation. The existing oak-dominated forest is an important resource for habitat and water quality, but without regeneration the forest will continue to decline.

A small 25 acre area of the 895 acre Park will be thinned just enough to stimulate regeneration of oak. Many of the trees to be removed are not healthy, and it is hoped that their removal will allow the continued growth of older high-quality trees as well as the growth of seedlings for the future.

Maryvale Appeals

Maryvale exists on a narrow ridge between steep slopes and stream valleys. In 1994-95 the Catholic sisters who owned the school subdivided the property, sold the useable acreage for development and profit, and, in order to get County permission to do so, promised to cap the school’s enrollment at 300 students. But Maryvale soon expanded to almost 400 students and a few years ago began an aggressive building campaign. Its construction should have been constrained by County land use laws, but County Zoning authorities brushed those laws aside to grant Maryvale permission to do everything and anything it requested. The FRCA appealed those decisions to the Circuit Court, which affirmed some outright and remanded others to the County to pass the time and allow it to offer new rationales for its irrational rulings. So, the FRCA has appealed the Circuit Court Rulings. In the meantime, well aware of its special status under law, Maryvale’s construction is underway along with the unavoidable environmental destruction caused by heavy construction on steep slopes above stream valleys.