March 15, 2015 10:32 am ET
County’s faux pas in PUD process could lead to legal challenges
Source: Fatal (F)law?
Photo credit: Patch.com.
It’s a tale of lengths.
You see, it seems that the Dundalk community has always received the short end of the stick when it comes to the long arm of the development law. Despite the fact that the community plays a critical role in the PUD process, it seems that Dundalk has become an afterthought in the quagmire of rules that govern this process.
I went to a top expert in the PUD field to get some straight answers. What better way to get to the bottom of the County playing fast and loose with the rules than to consult Mrs. Nancy and her magic mirror.
And what did the “mirror, mirror on the wall” tell us? Simply put, one just need to look at some of the “short ends of the sticks” in this game of cat and mouse the Kamenetz administration is playing.
Let’s take a look at the law and look for compliance … or a complete lack thereof.
First, we have this section:
2) Post-submission Community Input Meeting* – § 32-4-242(c)(1)
Post submission community meeting shall be held as follows:
• Applicant shall provide three (3) weeks advance notification of date, time and location by posting a sign on the property in accordance with § 32-4-217(b). See PAI sign posting procedures at:
(Blogger’s note: It’s a little late for that now…)
Regarding this section of the law, six community leaders went around the Government Center building with a fine tooth comb and a magic mirror and—guess what?—no sign.
Now, here’s one that our Councilman Todd Crandell could handle without uttering the famous words, “Magic mirror, please tell me what to do!” Another post-submission community input meeting may be required at the discretion of the County Council member.
The PUD application is submitted to the County Council prior to the adoption of the PUD Resolution.
Here is what the letter is supposed to look like:
DEVELOPER’S NOTIFICATION LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY
Pursuant to Baltimore County’s (BC) Development Regulations, a Community Input Meeting
(CIM) is one of the initial mandatory prerequisites to the development approval process. Baltimore
County (BC) Department of Planning has identified you to be notified of a CIM scheduled as follows:
NAME of DEVELOPMENT:
The purpose of the CIM is to share the developer’s concept plan with you and provide a forum for the discussion and resolution of community concerns. The CIM will be conducted by a representative of BC Department of Permits Approvals and Inspections, who will record minutes and prepare a list of questions and comments discussed at the meeting.
The major features of the proposed development will be presented and used as the basis for discussion at the CIM. Your participation will assist us and Baltimore County in achieving resolutions to any development matters that may arise. Your concerns will become part of the planning process and included in the permanent County record for this project.
Please understand that no decision regarding the approval of the project will be made at this time. The CIM simply provides an opportunity for the community to share in the discussion well in advance of the preparation of a development plan. The filing of the development plan will require a public notice to be posted on the property in accordance with County law before any decision may be rendered by the Administrative Law Judge at a subsequent development plan hearing.
The meeting will begin promptly at the designated time; however, we will be available one-half hour before the CIM so that you may review the plan and county comments informally with the developer’s engineer and with county staff. With your input, I am confident that we will be able to create a development project that will be an asset to the community.
NOTE: If Baltimore County Schools are closed due to inclement weather, this meeting will be cancelled. If the Baltimore County Snow Emergency Plan is in effect at 6:00 p.m. on the night of the meeting, the meeting is cancelled.
Now, before I part, leaving the citizens of Dundalk and the County with this tangled mess, I want you to know that Mrs. Cruz wrote a letter to the Administrative Law Judge John Beverugen, noting the fact that the property was inspected by various community leaders and discovered the property was not posted .
Karen F. Cruz
President, Eastfield-Stanbrook Civic Association
March 13, 2015
Mr. John E. Beverungen, Administrative Law Judge
Baltimore County Office of Law
400 Washington Avenue
Towson, MD 21204
RE: Merritt Pavilion, 7701 Wise Avenue, Dundalk, MD 21222, Planned Unit Development (PUD), Hearings(s) scheduled for March 26-31, 2015 at the Jefferson Building, Room 205,
105 Chesapeake Avenue, Towson, MD 21204 PAI Number: 12-0162,
Tracking Number: PUD-2014-00002
Honorable Administrative Judge Beverungen,
The development plan hearing for the above matter is scheduled for March 26, 2015 and to continue, if necessary, through March 31, 2015. As you are aware, it is required that the property that is subject of the PUD be legally posted by the developer. In the above matter the property was required to be posted by February 26, 2015.
I and six other community leaders have diligently inspected the subject property since February 26, 2015 and can find no posting as of the date of this correspondence. As it appears that this express PUD requirement has not been fulfilled, we are respectfully requesting your Honor to cancel the March 26, 2015 hearing, as we feel the failure of proper posting is a violation of the due process to which we and fellow citizens are entitled regarding fair notice.
Thank you for your consideration.
Karen F. Cruz
cc: Darryl D. Putty
Lawrence E. Schmidt
As for the judges decision the gavel will fall on March 26, 2015 at 10 a.m. at the Jefferson Building, room 105.