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Keeping tabs on the City Council's activities so you don't have to

By Van Smith | Posted 7/22/2009

On the Agenda for July 13

Bill 09-0357 Baltimore City Landmark List--Anne Wiggins Brown House

The Read: Baltimore is seeking landmark status for Anne Wiggins Brown's Sandtown-Winchester childhood home. Brown, who died in March, was the original Bess in George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. She grew up in a prominent West Baltimore family, and went from Douglass High School to Julliard to a celebrated career, long based in Scandinavia. Landmark status will mean her family's marble-stepped rowhouse will need approval for exterior changes, and be eligible for tax credits. The Sharon Baptist Church has owned the property since the city donated it 1996.

Bill 09-0364 Sale of Properties--3322 A½ - 3328 A½ Woodland Avenue, 3400-3404 Woodland Avenue, 4410 Pall Mall Road, and 4309-4311 Pimlico Road, and 4500-4504 Pimlico Road.

The Read: Sites of former apartment buildings in Park Heights that had been notorious drug-war havens, previously owned by absentee landlord Allan S. Bird, are now owned by the city, which acquired them at auction. Having demolished the buildings, the city now wants to sell the vacant lots as part of redevelopment efforts in the area.

Bill 09-0365 Sale of Property--Portion of City Property--Poplar Hill Road--Baltimore County

The Read: Todd Garliss built a $1.3 million house on city-owned property near Loch Raven reservoir by mistake, and now, with passage of this bill, all will be made right. In exchange for four acres he owns, Garliss will get the city's three-acre lot where his house and driveway sit.

Bill 09-0366 Zoning--Noncomplying Rowhouses--Expansions

The Read: Should this pass, owners of rowhouses expanded beyond what the regulations allow may be able to bring their properties into compliance. For approval, the structure's proposed expansion may not increase the degree of non-compliance, nor create new non-compliance, and retroactively allowed encroachments into set-backs and lot-coverage restrictions are limited in scope. But for those who built additions first and asked questions later, this bill may provide a way (with approval from the city's planning director) to avoid tearing down and re-doing what shouldn't have been done in the first place.

Bill 09-0368 Zoning--Junk or Scrap Storage and Yards--Critical Area Overlay

The Read: Introduced at the request of a newly formed company, Baltimore Metal Recycling Association LLC, the bill would clarify activities allowed in Baltimore's waterfront areas regulated under the Critical Areas Act, which was set up to protect the Chesapeake Bay shoreline. While storing or processing junk or scrap there would be prohibited, loading and unloading it would be allowed.

Bill 09-0369 Carbon Monoxide Alarms--Installation

The Read: Who knew that, under current law, carbon monoxide alarms are only allowed to be attached to walls and not to ceilings? This bill would allow ceilings, too.

Bill 09-0373 Food Service Facilities--Suspension or Nonrenewal of Licenses--Multiple or Unpaid Citations

The Read: Restaurants that are caught repeatedly violating environmental or civil laws, or haven't paid fines on prior violations, are in the cross-hairs here. If passed, the city will be able, with ample notice, to suspend or to not renew food-service licenses for operators that have three or more violations in the prior six months or, in the past year, failed to pay fines on one or more violations.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Aug. 10 at 5 p.m.

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