Community Issues - Special Laws

Bill 2-14, AS Overlay Districts

Sponsor: Huff
Benefits: Bill Kidd Volvo

Allows BM use (auto dealer, for example) on the BL portion of parcel if parcel is part BM-IM and part BL-AS.

Huff had previously introduced Bill 69-13, but the description was slightly broader, so could have applied to maybe a dozen properties around the County. He withdrew it, likely at the urging of other Council members. When the second bill was introduced, I identified it as applying only to the single property where the Hunt Valley Car Wash sat at 10630 York Rd in Old Cockeysville, although Huff refused to confirm this in the Work Session when asked.

My testimony against this bill was that, since it applied to only one parcel in the whole county, it was unconstitutional. In a subsequent Board of Appeals hearing, the Deputy People's Counsel for Baltimore County argued vehemently that the bill was illegal. (The Board did not have to rule on this matter, so punted.)

To show how absolutely ridiculous this was, the BM portion of the parcel was 1/60 of an acre, about the size of 5 parking spaces. As was stated in the Board of Appeals hearing, this was a case of "the tail wagging the dog". It turned out that this was to benefit Bill Kidd Volvo which then bought the land and put up a Volvo dealership there. Since then, the nearby property owners spent thousands of dollars fighting this affront to their historic community. See Balt Sun article.

Time line:

  • 18 Nov 2013, Bill 69-13 introduced
  • 26 Nov 2013, $1,000 campaign contribution from Bill Kidd Timonium (added to previous $1,000 on 28 May 2013)
  • 16 Dec 2013, Bill 69-13 withdrawn
  • 22 Jan 2014, New bill introduced
  • 18 Feb, Bill passed
  • 3 Mar, Bill takes effect (should have been 4 April - 45 days later)
  • 20 Mar Bill Kidd closes on property (obviously in the works for months)
  • 4 Apr (coincidence?), DRC held to begin development process (obviously in the works for months)

Following that, the local community was involved in a lengthy, expensive legal battle to stop this affront to their neighborhood. There were multiple zoning hearings, Board of Appeals hearings, and appeals to the court. One of the big issues was Bill Kidd's intention to park cars for sale on the rear 2/3 of the parcel which is zoned ML, where car sales is not an allowed use. They have argued that the cars are only "stored" here and will individually be brought to the front for customers to look at. This is not believeable since the rear portion is set up like a sales lot where customers may browse, including the fact that there is no fence separating it from the front part (Zoned BL) It isn't even clear that car "storage" would be allowed on ML.

But see later Bills 97-16 and 1-17 which pertain to vehicle sales in ML.

See Bill 17-15 for the follow-up. Also, Kach rezoned this "sliver" out of existence in CZMP. It remains to be seen whether this settles the case.

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Updated 28 Apr 2021 by MAP