Victory: Open Space Loophole Closed in Baltimore County
This week, the Baltimore County Council voted to pass Bill 37-19, which closes two loopholes that impacted open space requirements in the county. Previously, developers could count parking lot islands and private amenities towards their required open space acreage. Common sense dictates that little patches of grass surrounded by parking lot and private amenities, like rooftop pools, are not public recreational space.
Councilmen Marks and Quirk introduced Bill 37-19 to close loopholes that enabled developers to shirk their requirements to provide community open space. Residents around Baltimore County turned out for a mid-afternoon hearing to share their stories about missed opportunity for open spaces near them. Neighborspace of Baltimore County coordinated organizational testimony from the Green Towson Alliance, Towson Communities Alliance, Blue Water Baltimore, and the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, asking the council to support the bill and pass it with no amendments.
By the time the hearing was over, Councilmen Kach and Patoka and Councilwoman Bevins joined on as co-sponsors, citing the passionate testimony of residents from all corners of Baltimore County.
We have to give a huge thank you to the residents and volunteers who came out to what ended up being a three hour hearing in the middle of the day in Towson. Their in person testimony was so impactful, showcasing their love for their county, their concerns for access to open space, and meticulously researched examples of how these loopholes have denied county residents the full open space development should be providing.