Baltimore County News
Action protects park from threat of future development
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz approved an agreement that will place preservation protections on 450 acres of the County's Oregon Ridge Park in Hunt Valley. The popular and scenic 1,100 acre park, a portion first acquired by the County in 1969, provides recreational and social activities, including nature education, winter sports, summer concerts, theater, children's playgrounds, as well as a venue for festivals, gatherings and meetings year-round.
Working in close cooperation with Charles Fenwick, Jr. and Michael Hankin on behalf of the Land Preservation Trust, Baltimore County agreed to place land restrictions that will preserve almost 90% of the total acreage to ensure the park cannot be commercially or residentially developed.
"While there are no plans from the current administration to develop the site, our actions today will ensure that future generations of County residents will be able to enjoy the bucolic charm of Oregon Ridge Park," said Kamenetz. "I am grateful for the guidance of the Land Preservation Trust, a nationally recognized leader of the County's preservation efforts.”
Baltimore County has aggressively promoted land preservation for decades, including placement of two-thirds of the County's geography in a rural zone, such that 80% of the County's population live on 30% of the land mass. Baltimore County is comprised of 610 square miles, with a population exceeding 823,000. Across all of its preservation programs, Baltimore County has preserved more than 63,000 acres of land from future development, ranking it in the top 10 counties nationally.
“The Land Preservation Trust and the surrounding community have long sought to protect Oregon Ridge Park from future development potential,” said Charles Fenwick, Jr. “We appreciate that County Executive Kamenetz recognized how important Oregon Ridge is as a gateway to the valleys, and has agreed to protections that are tremendous and meaningful,” he said.
Kamenetz will direct that restrictive covenants be recorded with the Land Records of Baltimore County to provide the legal protections in perpetuity. Approximately 330,000 people visit Oregon Ridge Park and Nature Center annually.
Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will host a community forum as part of an ongoing effort to communicate directly with Baltimore County residents and community leaders.
The latest Coffee with Kevin will be held for communities in the Cockeysville and Timonium areas. The Coffee will take place on Thursday, November 5, at the Cockeysville Senior Center, located at 10535 York Road. The forum runs from 10 until 11 a.m., and coffee and donuts will be available starting at 9:30 a.m. The meeting is open to the public without pre-registration.
Residents Communicate Directly with County Executive
County Executive Kamenetz regularly hosts these gatherings in communities all around the County. This marks the 10th Coffee with Kevin held over the past two years.
"These meetings have really been a very positive way for me to find out what’s on people’s minds and share what is happening in each community," said Kamenetz. "Ours is a very large and diverse County, made up of unique areas, and I love the opportunity to hear different perspectives and learn more about each community’s priorities.”
Increased Government Transparency and Responsiveness
These community forums are an important part of Baltimore County's ongoing focus on increasing government transparency and responsiveness. The County is also active on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and with a regular blog, Baltimore County Now, that offers current and relevant information for citizens.
“The residents of greater Timonium are pleased to welcome the County Executive for this ‘Coffee with Kevin’ event,” said Eric Rockel, President of the Greater Timonium Community Council. “Getting the chance to communicate directly with Mr. Kamenetz is a helpful way for people to participate in their local government.”
Public Meeting on September 29
Baltimore County’s Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS) invites members of the communities within the Upper Jones Falls Watershed to participate in an upcoming public meeting on September 29.
The Upper Jones Falls watershed includes parts of Reisterstown, Owings Mills, Cockeysville, Lutherville and Timonium.
This planning meeting is co-hosted by the non-profit Blue Water Baltimore, and will focus on the creation of the Upper Jones Falls Small Watershed Action Plan (SWAP). The meeting offers a chance for interested individuals and organizations to learn about the project methods, results, and how to get involved. Once finalized, a committee will take responsibility for implementing the recommendations of the SWAP report.
The community meeting will take place at the Irvine Nature Center (11201 Garrison Forest Road in Owings Mills) on Tuesday, September 29, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. It is free and open to the public.
Visit Baltimore County’s Small Watershed Action Plans (SWAPs), for more information or call Amelia Atkins at 410-887-5705.
Background on Small Watershed Action Plans in Maryland
In the late 1990s, national stormwater permits required major counties in Maryland to reduce pollution from roads and neighborhoods that drain to local streams. Counties created monitoring programs and prepared watershed plans to identify projects and programs that could reduce pollution from these non-point sources. Many projects were completed and reductions tallied in annual reports.
Despite significant progress, additional reductions are needed to have clean waterways that meet water quality standards. To reach these additional reductions, Baltimore County is developing Small Watershed Action Plans (SWAPs) to focus on communities as a smaller group and to identify specific solutions that are tailored to local areas. They are implemented by Baltimore County in conjunction with citizen groups to help create and maintain healthy watersheds.
The Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability is responsible for the protection of the environment and the improvement of the quality of life for the citizens of Baltimore County. This is accomplished through programs that manage and enhance natural and man-made resources, and that provide environmental guidelines to our constituents.
Revised April 6, 2016