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Hess Settlement May Offer a New Opportunity for Baynesville

The legal settlement and creation of a new neighborhood park may be a catalyst for other improvements in this part of Baltimore County.

As first reported in Patch, a legal settlement has been reached in a dispute over possible contamination by the Hess gasoline station on Joppa Road.  The settlement between Hess and nearby residents calls for the demolition of 16 homes along Yakona Road.  The demolition of these structures will create a new, four-acre open space which may be owned by NeighborSpace of Baltimore County, a land preservation trust.

This issue predates my service on the Baltimore County Council.  When I learned about the settlement a few weeks ago, I quietly turned to several longtime community leaders who knew about the history of this problem.   My predecessor Wayne Skinner distinctly remembers walking the area with a resident more than ten years ago.

There are still a lot of questions that need to be answered, including the future of the open space.  I have been a strong supporter of Baltimore County NeighborSpace and am urging that organization to seize the opportunity to acquire this property.  I have already reached out to the state legislators from this area and will work with them to promote any public meetings.

My hope is that this settlement becomes the catalyst for improvements in this neighborhood.   While the homes along Yakona Road were built about the same time as nearby homes along Doxbury Road and Pleasant Plains Road, the Yakona Road area doesn't have the same degree of neighborhood stability.  It's been neglected, and it shows. 

My friend Donna Spicer, a longtime community activist, tells me that this region was once part of Baynesville.  That name has largely disappeared from the maps, but maybe it's time to form a Baynesville Community Association.  When NeighborSpace acquired a property in western Baltimore County, it worked with residents to actually start a neighborhood association.   I also want to look at improving the overall look of Joppa Road and possibly put this area under the approval of the Design Review Panel so there is better architectural design for new businesses. 

Since my election to the County Council, I have wanted to help this long-neglected part of Baltimore County.   The Hess settlement may offer a new opportunity.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dale February 13, 2013 at 01:33 PM
You refer to this area as being long-neglected, well, as a resident since 1976, I can tell you that there has been many changes, some good, some bad, as you would have in any other neighborhood, but the one thing we have and are proud of is the sense of community. We tried to have a Community association in the 1980's but alot of homes were rentals at the time. After 4 years of 5 people doing the job of a it slowly disbanded as renters came and went. Over the years these same rentals are have been sold to homeonwers who have striven to fix up and rehab the properties. The neighbors know one another and look out for each other. Our main concern is the possiblity of increased crime if the area in question is not properly addressed. At present the level of crime is at a minimum throughout the "Baynesville" area. Any thing to improve our area is a plus for us...especially after living with the mess the commercial properties generated. it needs to be remembered that these homes were there long before the businesses on Joppa Road. They need to work with the community too.
David Marks February 13, 2013 at 01:43 PM
I don't doubt that there are some great people in the community, as I have talked to quite a few of them since this settlement was announced. I'm interested in restarting a formal community organization, initiating a Citizens on Patrol unit, and getting the park finalized. Let me know if you want to help with the organization - dmarks@baltimorecountymd.gov.

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