Community Issues - Special Laws

Bill 23-17, Licensed Arborists (Tree Care Companies) in BL

Sponsor: Bevins
Benefitted: Allen and Sons Tree Service, Inc, ne corner Harford Rd and Taylor Ave

Allen and Sons Tree Service has been operating at this location for quite a while, in complete disregard for the zoning regulations pertaining to BL. Thus, this Bill is an attempt to make an illegal use now legal. Any way you look at it, it is a "Contractor's Equipment Storage Yard", which is currently not allowed in BL or BM under any circumstances. Such a use is allowed only in BR and SE by Special Exception, a process that is intended to consider the need for specific limitations for a use that "might cause unsatisfactory results of one kind or another". The previous allowance by right in MH was removed in 1970.

A Code Enforcement case has been opened - CC1612846, with a citation issued Jan 17, 2017 for "failure to cease use as a contractor equipment storage yard". No further action has been taken by CE, which is the usual result of a zoning case being filed. A zoning case was filed by the property owner on December 21, 2016 to "determine whether the automobiles and motor vehicles stored on the subject property constitute a contractors' equipment storage yard" and a hearing was scheduled for February 23, 2017. Since nothing further was heard from the petitioner, the case was closed. Seems like another example of how someone figured out that it is easier and a surer (and cheaper) thing to just get their council members to sponsor "special" legislation to fix the problem. In the meantime, the minor fee ($500) to file the zoning case, holds the inspectors at bay ($600 fine)!

This Bill allows this use as a "Contractor's Equipment Storage Yard", for this specific type of "contractor", in BL, BM, and BR by right. This contradiction with the current "by Special Exception" in BR in the BCZR is a "technical" error in this Bill.

Prior to the introduction of this Bill, the local community association made known to Bevins their strong opposition, but she introduced it anyway.

The Aerial photo on the County website (probably from several years ago) shows an 80-foot long pile of logs. The photo from Google Earth from October 2016 shows a pile of logs. Currently, the pile of logs seems to have been removed from the ground, but only to the back of a large dumptruck, as is some other landscaping "stuff". This would likely cause an ongoing disagreement between citizens and Code Enforcement about what constitutes prohibited "material". Code Enforcement seems to look for every excuse they can find to not enforce the Code against a business, leaving citizens with little recourse.

Before passage, the Bill was amended so that it would only apply within the Parkville Commercial Revitalization District and to better define what "material" means. It's hard to imagine why anyone would think that allowing this sort of use would be "revitalization" of an area. If one wants to allowe any business what-so-ever in an attempt to increase commercial use, then just upzone the whole district to BR and be done with it! At least it will not affect any other area but Parkville by allowing a contractor's equipment storage yard. I hope the people of Parkville have better success with Code Enforcement when this business gets out-of-hand than I had in Upper Falls.

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Updated 6 Mar 2018 by MAP