CALL TO ACTION: YOUR VOICE IS NEEDED By Councilman Wade Koch
Please take the time to carefully read this special alert email and provide your thoughts to help preserve the integrity of Baltimore County and its communities.
Thank you to the many of you contacting me regarding the County administration’s Mixed Use Development Bill 3-24. I share your concerns and oppose this bill. If it passes, it will result in:
· The urbanization of substantial portions of suburban Baltimore County. Vast swaths of the York Road corridor from the Beltway to the Hunt Valley Town Center would be subject to the provisions of this bill.
· The County Council would be bypassed with perfunctory public involvement in the development process. It is shocking and very disturbing.
· No provisions are included for adequate public facilities, except the existing ones which are inadequate.
Unfortunately, there is also grim news from the state level regarding the repeal of local zoning laws. The Moore administration has made it a priority this legislative session of passing what it is calling, the Housing Expansion and Affordability Act.While we are awaiting the specific language of the bill, I have been informed that it would enable larger and denser development including what is allowed in the zoning regulations of Baltimore County so long as these proposals affordable housing. This would be in effect within one mile of a transit stop (light rail, metro, MARC, etc.)The state and county bills, if passed, these pieces of legislation would result in:
· The most developer friendly legislation in generations.
· Dramatically altering the balance of power in the County granting Annapolis, the executive branch in the County, and unelected officials unprecedented land use authority at the expense of the most impacted communities.
· Diminishing the land use authority of the very elected representatives of the County Council who know their districts best.
Both pieces of legislation would open large swaths of the Lutherville-Timonium York Road corridor to thousands of new apartment units, by right, without any meaningful community input. Given our already overcrowded schools, our overburdened sewer capacity, and our already congested roadways, I strongly oppose both.Currently, before the Council, are the 2030 Master Plan and the 2024 Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP). Both are vital to the future of our neighborhoods. I am currently working on amendments to the Master Plan. Where the proposed plan promotes urban development in the suburban parts of our District, I will be introducing amendments to eliminate such guidance. Secondly, I am proposing amendments designed to address my concerns with the proposed Master Plan being described as a “living” document. In my opinion, a document described as “living” could be changed through actions of non-elected officials and individuals.The 2024 CZMP process will be long and intense. Changes emanating from Washington, Annapolis and the County administration are placing pressure on the County Council to urbanize suburban areas. Many years ago, the State granted each County the power of zoning. Given the events I have mentioned above, it is a very real threat that power could be reversed. It is my hope that we can settle contentious issues such as Lutherville Station and Heaver Plaza by the end of the CZMP. If not, I am concerned the State and County will act with no real neighborhood involvement or input.
CALL TO ACTION
I urge you to contact your state officials regarding the Housing Expansion and Affordability Act and to participate in upcoming hearings before the County Council to voice your opposition to the prospect of thousands of new apartments in Lutherville-Timonium. Contact information for the Baltimore County Council can be found by clicking, BC County Council. For the County Executive, click, BC County Executive.
Also, please forward this email to those living in other areas of Baltimore County. In conversations let them know of the proposed State and County mixed use development legislation. Ask them to contact their Council Members, State Delegates, Senators, and Governor to express their views regarding these two pieces of legislation. State Delegates can be found by clicking, Maryland Delegates; for State Senators click, Maryland Senators; and for the governor click, Maryland Governor.
We must do everything we can to stop this legislation to preserve the integrity of our district. I value your input and support.