Edward J. Gilliss of the Baltimore County Planning Board opened the meeting and asked that no one speak for more than 2 minutes and asked everyone to be civil.
The first speaker spoke about Bosely Avenue in the center of Towson. Bosley Avenue carries 42,000 cars on a daily basis. The speaker owns property and believes that the zoning proposal would devalue the land.
The President of Carney Improvement Association spoke about an upzoning proposal for a CVS Pharmacy in place of residential land. She said it is a congested intersection, just before the light at Harford and Joppa. She believes the visibility is bad and commercial property would be dangerous. She said other CVS businesses are nearby.
A developer spoke in favor of the CVS. All of the areas around it are already being used for commercial purposes, he said.
A Perry Hall woman said a property near the nixed Gunview Road extension said she supports the downzoning of land near the Gunpowder River that would help preserve wildlife and wooded land.
She said "Perry Hall does not need more homes at this time."
There was uproarious applause after she said this.
A woman from Eddington Road said she has too much air pollution and and noise pollution. She is opposed to the building of a mulit-level senior residence near her home and says it would increase crime and traffic issues.
People applauded her statement.
Riderwood Hills Association near Colony apartments in Towson, where hundreds of college students live. It is being proposed for upzoning theat could allow the creation of a shopping center.
"It's out nightmare that Kenilworth Drive will look like a Manhattan street ... nobody in their right mind would live in a complex where you live on all sides next to students," she said.
A Kenilworth Drive woman said there are 14,000 cars driving by her neighborhood every day and upzoning in her neighborhood would only increase the traffic. A school is also being built.
"We have been doing our due dilligence as citizens ... we would appreciate the break and no upzoning on [this property]."
A Carney woman said she opposes adding a building on Joppa Road where it is already congested.
A man is opposed to the "walkable Towson" plan. He said he was "angry" and started naming several officials by name about his disappointment with the Towson Master Plan.
A woman from Alabama Road with the Southland Hill Community Association said she supports the downzoning of a property that will preserve "green space in one of Towson's oldest communities" and a "mini-park."
A commander of the American Legion in Towson said the legion is a major landowner near the Towson Triangle. He said he is opposed to a rezoning of commercial space to high density residential property. Members of the legion stood while he spoke. He said he feels Towson University and Baltimore County are trying to take their land through rezoning. "Our land was purchased in 1949 and we continue to serve America ... God bless you and God bless America."
The zoning change in question was added by a former member of the planning board, who also proposed upzoning for various other properties in downtown Towson, the commander said.
Uproarious applause followed his statement.
A man said he is a member of the Towson Triangle committee, and said he opposes plans to rezone the American Legion's Towson property. He said he spoke to David Marks about it and the proposal did not come from Marks' office.
A man spoke about how he thinks that property proposed for downzoning that already includes a house should be given special consideration.
A man spoke about a wooded lot on Loch Raven Boulevard that is heavily congested. He said he and his wife have rescued people from car accidents. "To do anything with that area would only make circumstances worse," he said.
A man said a line has been drawn through his property that would change the zoning from DR 5 to DR 3.5 and he opposes it.
A man spoke about 5-054. He said he opposes it and additional development will bring traffic, crime and dumpsters. He said there is a lack of access at Eddington and Joppa Road and there should not be a strip mall or apartment buildings. It is proposed for DR 16, he said.
A Parkville woman said she is afraid of apartment buildings that developers said will be assisted living. She said she is very upset about possible crime and traffic increases.
A man who owns property at Linden Place on York Road said his property should be upzoned because it is surrounded by heavy residential areas near the Towson Green development. He does not want to see his property further downzoned and devalued.
"I like to think we live in a fair and reasonable county," he said, "all I'm asking for is fairness."
A man said he opposes further development on Joppa Road. He said people drive 52 in 30 mph areas. He said he is opposed to rental properties and apartment complexes and overpopulation in schools. A said lights on Joppa Road and on Perring Parkway are not correctly timed. "There's already way too much stuff ... how would you like to have people dump 3-4 busloads of people on your property."
A woman on Aspen Mill Road, part of a condo development, near White Marsh Boulevard began speaking. She said her property is filled with trees. She is opposed to upzoning. She said she is wants to "live peacefully."
A condo resident said, "43 has become like living on the Beltway. It's so loud and noisy. I am opposed to more building ... but maybe if you decreased speed and noise on Perry Hall Boulevard ... we can't even hear birds like we used to."
A Perry Hall woman said she supports the downzoning of land within a mile of Perry Hall High School, near Honeygo Boulevard and Silver Spring. "The school you're sitting in has 10 portable classrooms," she said. She said roads in the area are overwhelmed. She said there are not enough recreation fields.
A man from Kilkenny Circle in Perry Hall said he is opposed to any upzoning near Ebenezer Road. "In the morning between 7 and 10:30, you cannot make a left hand turn at Ebenezer ... there are cars screaming by ... it has become very, very dangerous ... near the high school it is very dangerous."
David Kosak, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, took the stand. "Towson is a very unique place ... because of those working relationships we have ... we've done this in an effort to preserve our neighborhoods ... we will be at the table for development .. but we cannot allow greedy agenda of a few to destroy that."
Mike Ertel, a West Towson resident, said he is opposed to upzoning near Bosley Avenue and believes the community should be given more say and developers are not asking community members, which is is direct violation to Towson plan. He said developers want to build a mini-van but are looking for tractor-trailer zoning. "We feel like we're signing a blank check for whatever they plan on building," he said.
Another Towson leader said he opposed upzoning on Linden Terrace. He said single-family homes are preferred to high density area. He said the developer has in the past converted properties to rental properties for students, which was illegal.
VP of Towson community organization said he is opposed to upzoning in his area that would add high density commercial zoning to the CZMP area and added that it is opposed to the Towson Plan. He said there have been many efforts to revitalize Towson. "It would be a mistake to enlarge the area and the work many people just to appease a former planning board member."
A woman said she is speaking about property currently being used by Baltimore City. She said she supports the downzoning of a park and the downzoning of an area near Loch Raven Boulevard. She is also opposed to upzoning of property near Keniworth Boulevard.
A Carney man said he opposes the upzoning that would allow for another CVS in Carney. He said this would increase traffic and ruin his "quaint little street" and his street would become a "boulevard for people taking shortcuts." This intersection has been rated D but he says it is a failed intersection.
A Magnolia Avenue woman said she wants her property, owned by her family, to stay with its current zoning. "It's farmland ... we have no intentions of doing anything with it," she said.
A woman said as an attorney representing the property she supports upzoning of land at the intersection of Joppa and Harford Roads.
President of West Towson neighborhood organization said she is opposed to an upzoning request that would allow green space at Bosley to be developed. She said development would take away the neighborhood's charm.
A woman at Silver Spring Road in Perry Hall is opposed to the upzoning of commercial property, 5003, that would bring in more traffic that would cause problems with pedestrians.
A man said traffic has become dangerous at the Mars shopping center in Perry Hall. "Don't let your family members shop there ... now you want to tear a house down to build a road ... I want you to stand near my house at 4:30 p.m. and pray your family members are not shopping there .. if you respect [how police feel about this] you'll reject this project."
A man said he opposes doubly the density in his area would increase crime and trespassing and reduce his property value.
An Oakley Road woman in Parkville said she is opposed to downgrade of her property that would devalue personal property that is not open space. "It's personal property ... it's against the property owner's rights," he said.
Al Redmer of Perry Hall said he supports the proposal for property development at Silver Spring Road and Belair Road. He said a two-story building should be allowed to be built. He said the plan addresses a current problem with storm water runoff and the county has already approved several parts of this property and said development will solve environmental problems and bring economic development.
A homeowner said she opposes a zoning change at Harford and Joppa Road. "Please don't change our quality of life just to appease these drug emporiums ... please don't take the last green corner that protects our community ... thank you, I'm counting on you."
A man said a 15-acre plot was excluded from David Marks' widespread downzoning plan. He said he believes that zoning should not be changed in his area of Parkville.
The president of the Ridgely community association in Parkville said he is concerned about the preserving a green space park and would like to see it downzoned. He said he would also like to see a community pet cemetery preserved.
A man said his accounting practice on Belair Road should be upzoned so he can have a lighted sign so he can get more business. "There will be no change in the way we use the business."
A man said he is opposing upzoning of his property and more townhouses on Northwind Road. He said it would bring more traffic, become more dangerous and devalue his property.
A man said he is opposed to upzoning at Harford and Joppa Road that all residents oppose and only developers approve.
A man said he opposes a multi-family unit in his area which mostly has singl-family homes. "They will destroy the character of the neighborhood," he said "There are already problems with crime and rats in the ." He was referring to Conduit and Daytona Roads.
A man said he was opposed to dumping in the Gunpowder River by builders and after storms. He said he is also opposed to irresponsible renters.
Ruth Baisden with the Parkville Community Council. She said she supports the downzoning and would like more open space zoning in Parkville. She said she opposes the proposed CVS at Harford Road and Joppa Road. "We don't want more widening to allow for more traffic," she said.
The Planning Board took a 5-minute break.
The meeting resumed. A Summit Avenue said she opposes a subdivision of property and impact on Jennifer Branch area. A woman said things were stolen from her home and property and theft from nearby renters and drug use.
An attorney representing the developer at Harford and Joppa Road. He said traffic visibility is not a serious problem. He said it is not oo close to residential areas. He said a wooded buffer will be planted to form a barrier.
A man said he was opposed to rezoning near Honeygo Run Park in Perry Hall. He said his father as a property owner was taken advantage of by the county when they developed the park. He said not enough information was given to his family.
A woman said she opposes rezoning 5-055. She said traffic on Seven Courts has increased significantly and she requested the lowest density possible. She said neighbors were all very concerned about the possibility of new construction on Seven Courts Drive in Perry Hall.
A Greater Parkville Community Council member said he opposes the 5-005 project and 5-009 project and 5-019 project. He said he lives very close to Harford and Joppa Road and further development would contribute to congestion.
A man said he owns five properties in Towson and said that a County Councilman stole his property. "Instead of being fair and allowing my property to be allowed for development, they downzoned me to help other developments," he said. "The developers got what they wanted."
Owner of Parkville pet cemetery said he disagrees with rezoning that would devalue his property. "Keep the zoning the same .. I spent a lot of money .. I woudl hate to see the money I spent go to waste ... I guess people understand we need to keep the zoning the same ... it's not hurting anybody."
A man spoke about parcel 5-018. He said it is proposed to become commercial. He said he is concerned about traffic, noise and trash pickup for property near a lone single-family home.
A woman said she is opposed to the 5-032 rezoning near the old Bateman's. She said the state needs to preserve to green space in that area near the Jennifer Branch area near Cub Hill Road. She asked for a traffic signal in that area.
A member of the Hillendale association said he owns property near Orlando Road. He said he is trying to develop it and is against the zoning reduction. He said he wants to build single-family homes, not an apartment complex.
A man said he supports the Ridgely Community Association and preservation of the Oakleigh pet cemetery. He has helped clean it up for several years. He said it should be kept in a passive state. He said that Perry Hall High is too crowded and too hot and there should be a new school. "It came to my mind while I was sitting here sweating," he said.
Two children came to speak about Sean Court in Perry Hall. A girl said that zoning should not change the wooded area for animal life.
A man said a property currently being used by Baltimore City is undevelopable. He said it impacts the local water supply as part of a Loch Raven Reservoir shaft. He said he supports downzoning for the Parkville pet cemetery.
A man said he disagrees with 5-018.
A woman with the Fox Farm Road association in Perry Hall, along Proctor Lane near the Gunview, said she supports the downzoning of her area that would prevent further development.
A man said he owns the commercial property along Joppa Road and supports upzoning in the front of the property and the downzoning of the back, near homes. He said a 24-hour pharmacy, like CVS, at Harford Road and Joppa Road may increase security and reduce crime.
A man said he opposes rezoning of 5-024, which would negagtively impact wildlife. He named several birds that live there and went into detail about the unique bird population. He said some eat poisen ivy vines. He said people should take their children there.
Edward J. Gilliss of the Planning Board closed the meeting.
Check back for live meeting updates at 7 p.m.
Residents of Baltimore County's District 5 may comment on rezoning proposals during a Baltimore County Planning Board hearing, scheduled for 7 p.m. on March 20 at Perry Hall High School. Anyone interested in speaking about a specific property is encouraged to sign up by 6 p.m.
The hearing will review 59 rezoning issues, mainly in the Towson, Parkville and Perry Hall areas, represented by County Councilman David Marks.
A map and full list of rezoning issues is available in the media gallery.
About half of the rezoning recommendations were proposed by Marks and most have called for the downzoning of properties, effectively eliminating the potential for large housing developments in several areas.
"I am concerned about the county's ability to pay for roads, schools, and other infrastructure, and I want to make sure we have the right level of growth for our communities," Marks wrote in a recent blog post on Patch.
Marks said he does not plan to to attend the meeting, as the Planning Board is an independent body.
Testimony from residents will be factored into the Planning Board's rezoning recommendations for the 2012 Comprehensive Zoning Map Process, which reexamines zoning designations every four years. The County Council is scheduled to vote on the final zoning map by Sept. 16.
Anyone unable to attend the March 20 hearing is encouraged to attend an alternate meeting at the Historic Courthouse in Towson at 7 p.m. on June 4.
This article has been edited to correct a quote by David Kosak.