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Council Approves Mays Chapel Land Swap

The County Council signs off on exchange of 10-acre parcels with the school system that could clear the way for the construction of a controversial new elementary school.

A land swap needed for the construction of a controversial new elementary school in Mays Chapel is one step closer to fruition.

The Baltimore County Council Tuesday unanimously approved a resolution approving the swap of a 10-acre wooded property for an adjacent 10-acre property made up of ballfields that is owned by the Baltimore County Public Schools system.

The school system intends to use the newly-swapped property to build a new elementary school.

The swap still requires the approval of the county Board of Education. The state Department of Natural Resources must also approve the deal because of open space easements on the county's parcel. Those easements are expected to be transferred over to the new parcel.

Some residents who live near the proposed site oppose the new school and the land swap. Those opponents testified against the project last week before the county Board of Education as well as the County Council.

The funding for the school is part of more than $23 million already pre-approved by the state for the budget year that begins July 1.

In Other Council News:

  • Unanimously approved a bill sponsored by Councilman David Marks that reduces the required number of parking spaces for an athletic club or health spa from 10 to three per 1,000 square-feet of floor space for any club located within the downtown Towson area. The move clears the way for a national health club to sign a lease for space within Towson Commons.
  • Unanimously approved the appropriation of $3.4 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to purchase and demolish six properties: 10919, 10921 and 11001 York Road; 10, 13 and 15 Beaver Run Lane. County officials said the properties are subject to repeated flooding and the demolition would reduce the risk of flooding to surrounding properties. If the owners agree to sell, buildings on the properties will be razed and the land will be used for open space, recreation and wetlands.
A Morton January 23, 2013 at 03:06 PM
Finally some progress! Our children need schools, the modern technology, and innovative ideas will benefit our children. People can jog and walk their dogs elsewhere. Although, the field space that comes with a school is also quite nice. Kudos to the Council!
Al Day January 23, 2013 at 05:56 PM
More needless spending. The building doesn't educate. Teachers do. Let's get the best teachers we can. Existing buildings can be modernized to whatever extent is necessary to do the job at a fraction of the cost. Go to Yale and Harvard and look at the age of their buildings for proof of this fact. End these 'deals' where 'friends' of the politico's get rewarded. This is our future. Fiscal conservation serves us all.
Zach Wilson January 23, 2013 at 07:10 PM
Yes Al Day, while it is true that teachers educate and that places like Harvard and Yale have very old buildings that have been modernized, it is also true that the Harvard's and Yale's of the world have also expanded and consistently spend money to attract better teachers. People must stop complaining about hiring the best teachers and instead make teaching a worthwhile career path. One not based on incentives, but competition. Then, maybe, we will get away from the old "those who can do, those who can't teach" mentality and get those people who are "doing" involved in teaching. After all, how can we have rocket-scientists without someone teaching them how to become one? This includes having access to newer, better buildings, with better technology.
Ann Hutson January 23, 2013 at 07:50 PM
Well said, Zach Wilson. Also, those places have deep pockets. Sometimes it's cheaper to start from scratch rather than 'retrofitting' buildings because of the current codes and regulations.
Steve Kolbe January 23, 2013 at 09:37 PM
Glad to see the investment. Trailers and overcrowded classrooms are not conducive to learning.
Marcia Shipley January 23, 2013 at 10:00 PM
I'm curious about exactly where these 10 acre lots are located. I thought the ball field was always the area proposed for the school. A map would be very helpful.
Nancy Burke January 23, 2013 at 10:17 PM
Taking "open space" from the community is unnecessary. It would cost considerably less to expand and renovate the schools at Lutherville, Pot Springs, and Padonia International. There would be enough money left over (when comparing the costs -- 90% from the state for a new school and 85% for renovating a 40-year-old school AND the cost of renovation is considerably less than building a new school. Plus approximately $575,000 per year would be saved by not busing 700+ children to a commuter school. $575,000 would pay for more teachers, provide more computers, buy newer and better books, pay for lunches for those requiring it, etc. Why are we wasting state money (from all us taxpayers), county money (from the same taxpayers), AND cheating our children out of better facilities?
Lily January 23, 2013 at 10:23 PM
when you have all the surrounding local schools over capacity to a total of about 630 students then you need a new building. There is a limit to how much you can expand a local elementary and the county is renovating some of the schools that it makes sense to renovate. The York rd corridor needs to create about 1000 seats between renovations and the new school.
Lily January 23, 2013 at 10:36 PM
It should be considered also that sometimes renovating a building is not cheaper than building a new one. There are building codes that did not exist when some of these buildings where built that when you start renovating the properties have to come up to existing codes. This can result in a domino effect that gets more expensive with each step of the renovation. So you tear down wall A and discover B which means you have to do C but there is no D what is necessary in C So now C and D are added to the renovation and up the cost. You also have to have addition room for parking/infrastructure ect. It's not like playing with legos. You don't just go buy another box and put them together.
Lily January 23, 2013 at 10:42 PM
As to busing, many if not most of the children at almost any elementary school do not live within walking distance and so they are bused. Almost all the school zones are "commuter" zones. It doesn't really matter how you swing a similar number of kids will be bused somewhere and there is no way you could have a school that is all walkers so there is no way to save $575,000. We are not wasting money and to say that building a new school is wasting money really fails to understand the depth of the problem BCPS has because the areas of overcrowding don't have land to build more schools or expand existing ones. This is what happens when more people live in a small area that the area infrastructure can't support. Why don't some of you move to Parkville. It's right next door and we have plenty of room. It's cheaper too.
Adrienne January 24, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Well said, Al Day. We NEED the best teachers. Getting children engrossed learning is an uphill battle. I can't imagine sticking kids on a bus for transport to a school way out of their neighborhood would be beneficial. I'd rather have my kids doing homework and learning something than spending needless time in transit. Traffic in this area would be severely impacted with the buses and parents dropping off and picking up children. I can't believe there's no open land closer to the kids that would be bused to this proposed school.
Gabriel Anthony January 24, 2013 at 02:41 AM
We need to reduce the size of classes to give these teachers any chance to succeed. Building a new school will help with that cause. We also need to make school fun so kids stay interested. Perhaps we can have them do more things outside the school with more hands on learning. Bring them to construction sites so they can see how much work goes into building homes or buildings. Bring them to hospitals and let them see how nurses take care of patients and how doctors can fix people. Bring them to prisons so they can see what there life can be if they don't study hard and play by the rules. Bring them to sporting events so they can see how much athletes train to get where they are at. Bring them to a hospice hospital so they can understand that life should be appreciated every minute of the day. We need to partnership with outside companies to have sites to go to. In turn these kids will be intersted in learning and respectful growing up. I say field trips every other Friday and yes they are all free. The only cost is transportation and we have yellow buses for it. Isn't that small cost worth it if we can produce respectful children who are interested in becoming great and hard working citizens with great ideas themselves. Public school as of right now does not work for my family so this is why i had to put her in our church Christian school where i have a say with daily education. Besides public schools do not have religion and they should offer it if a child wanted it.
Gabriel Anthony January 24, 2013 at 02:59 AM
Treat kids like young adults and have them make decisions or vote on deciding where there field trips will be and of course with approval of the school. This will make the kids feel like they have a voice. Trust me i see the difference in my Christian school compared with Perry hall elementary school which is where my child went before. The kids feel appreciated and actually greet visitors with respect. I know religion is not for everyone and i get it. I used to be that way since i never knew who God is growing up. I turned out ok but i know i could have been so much more if there was interest. My wife on the other hand is the bread winner in my family because she had that great education growing up in the Philippines. So as a dad my main job to my kids is to give them the best education and it starts at home but when they are in school we as parents have to make sure it continues in school. I never felt welcomed in Perry hall elem. There is only 1 male teacher as of last year. The pta there is no good as they send flyers home every day for fundraising but spend it on donuts to welcome parents to parents night. Raising money should be for the kids to go to library trips etc. Sorry im so harsh but if i ran Baltimore county i would support those who actually want to improve there lives. We need to stop giving to those who need and don't want to improve there lives. Sorry i got off topic but it just gets me angry when i see potential and we look the other way.
Jean Suda January 24, 2013 at 03:08 AM
Marcia, Patch had an article on the schematic presentation for the new school which took place last summer, July 10, 2012. Here is the link to the slide presentation in the article. The fields remain fields, the woodsy area is where the school building will be built. http://timonium.patch.com/articles/board-of-ed-to-discuss-mays-chapel-school-update#pdf-10572833
john sullivan January 24, 2013 at 03:36 AM
J. SULLIVAN A MORTON, 90% OF THE ABUTTING AND SURROUNDING COMMUNITIES ARE OVER 60 YRS. OLD. THIS INCLUDES THE CONDOS, TOWNHOMES, ADJACENT ASSISTANT LIVING FACILITIES & THE NURSING HOME. MANY, MANY OF THESE PEOPLE USE CANES, WHEELCHAIRS & MANY ARE ASSISTED BY CAREGIVERS. SAFETY RULES PROHIBIT NON SCHOOL PERSONS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY DURING THEIR HOURS. AS SUCH FOR ABOUT 6 MONTHS A YEAR MANY RESIDENTS ARE LEERY OF WALKING IN THE DARK. PERHAPS IF MORTON WERE IN THE SAME BOAT HE WOULD NOT HAVE HIS SARCASTIC, UNREALISTIC ATTITUDE.
john sullivan January 24, 2013 at 03:54 AM
YES, AT LEAST 7 ACRES OF 100 YEAR OLD TREES ARE TO BE REMOVED. SO MUCH FOR KAMENETZ (THE MAIN DRIVING FORCE BEHIND THIS PROPOSED SCHOOL LOCATION) & THE COUNTY COUNCIL WHO ALL BOAST "GREEN" & OPEN SPACE PRESERVATION IN AS MANY PHOTO OPS AS POSSIBLE. ONCE AGAIN .... SO MUCH FOR WILD LIFE PRESERVATION. I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING WHICH OF OUR SO CALLED LOCAL LEADERS WHO ARE CHARGED WITH REPRESENTING THEIR CONSTITUENTS WISHES WILL BE REWARDED BY BANKROLLING DEVELOPERS, ETC., BY NOT BUILDING ON SEVERAL OTHER SCHOOL SITES WHICH DO NOT REQUIRE REMOVING MATURE TREES AND AND ALREADY HAS THE EXPENSIVE INFRASTRUCTURE IN PLACE.
john sullivan January 24, 2013 at 04:11 AM
J. SULLIVAN I'M GOING TO GO OUT ON A LIMB HERE AND VENTURE TO SAY THAT LILY IS NOT OVER 50 YRS. OLD & DOES NOT LIVE CLOSE TO OUR 1 & ONLY PARK. W.PADONIA RD. (PER POLICE STATICS) IS THE 12TH MOST DANGEROUS RD. IN THE COUNTY. IF LILY WAS OLDER & LIVED HERE SHE WOULD BE USED TO LEISURELY WALKING & DRIVING. WHAT A DIFFERENCE WHEN THE 700 STUDENT SCHOOL IS BUILT. MANY NOISY, POLLUTING SCHOOL BUSES & AT LEAST 1/2 OF THE PARENTS DRIVING THEIR CHILDREN TO & FRO. THAT'S 700 ADT'S (AVERAGE DAILY TRIPS..... EXTRA VEHICLES EVERY DAY .... SPEEDING IN & OUT TO DROP OFF THEIR CHILDREN & THEN GO TO THEIR JOBS, THE GYM, YOGA, ETC. THOSE DRIVERS & THE EXISTING NEIGHBORHOOD WALKERS & DRIVERS WILL NOT WORK. OIL & WATER DO NOT MIX.
C. Majka January 26, 2013 at 05:46 AM
Padonia Rd in Mays Chapel which leads to Falls Road is a nightmare during morning rush hour. The traffic is backed up bumper to bumper now with people traveling that roadway and also with the private schools located on that corridor of Falls Rd. What a future mess in the making for a two lane roadway.

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