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Residents Take Mays Chapel School Opposition To County Council

Group asks council to reject a resolution approving a land swap between the county and the schools system.

Opponents of a proposed school in Mays Chapel took their fight to the Baltimore County Council Tuesday.

A handful of opponents attended a work session less than a day after scores testified against construction of the proposed elementary schoool at Mays Chapel Park. 

Alan Zuckerberg, an attorney representing a group opposing the school construction, said a majority of the residents are senior citizens who live in the area.

"No one told these people that the future use of the property was for a school," said Zuckerberg.

The county is expected to vote Tuesday on a resolution that will allow the county to swap a 10-acre parcel of wooded land in Mays Chapel for an adjoining 10-acre parcel that is currently home to ball fields. The wooded property is slated to become the home of a proposed 700-seat elementary school.

The two parcels were purchased from the Keelty Homes nearly 30 years ago. The original reason for buying the land was for the construction of a school, according to Amy Grossi, an assistant county attorney.

Eric Rockel, president of the Greater Timonium Community Council, questioned the validity of the appraisals on the two properties and said he believes the county failed to follow it's own regulations by not obtaining two independent appraisals on the land valued in excess of $25,000.

Residents argue that at least 95 percent of the students will be bussed into the neighborhood to attend the school.

County officials say the school is needed to alleviate overcrowding at elementary schools along the York Road corridor.

"What's the alternative?" Carol Mills asked the council. "Build additions to selected school, which need more room. Children can stay in their neighborhoods, save taxpayers money and you can save the park."

The council vote next week will not be the last word on the project.

The county Board of Education will still need to approve the swap. The project will also need approval of the state Department of Natural Resources because the county used Program Open Space money to purchase its portion of the property.

Rockel asked the council to delay their vote until the state has made a decision on whether it will agree to lift those restrictions.

M. Sullivan January 16, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Looks to me like most of the people opposing this school will be long gone from this world by the time a decision gets made.
Dennis King January 16, 2013 at 04:04 PM
I am amazed that Mr. Zuckerberg stated that "No one told these people that the future use of the property was for a school." That's hard to believe given that, for over 20 years, the maps have designated this property as the site for Mays Chapel Elementary School. This is a highly intelligent group of individuals, based on the testimony they provided to the Board of Education on Monday evening. That leads to the conclusion that someone, or some people, are being dishonest with the County Council.
R. Sharpe January 16, 2013 at 06:01 PM
I wouldn't mind as much if the students who would be bussed in were from the York Road Corridoor. But I was given to understand that the majority of students would be coming from the Reisterstown and Owings Mills area, which amazingly are part of the same school district. Can anyone confirm or deny this with certainty.
Donna January 16, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Most won't be gone by that time, we are not all elderly. There are middle aged and young professionals living in the area. The land was designated for a school site as far back as 1985 or 1986 but somewhere along the line that designation changed. Yes, this is a group of intelligent individuals; no one is being dishonest other than the Balt Co School Board. It's my understanding it is Central Balt Co school area overcrowding east and west of the York Road corridor. This affects some elementary schools in the Towson area (sorry, I can't recall which ones), Padonia Elementary, Warren Elementary, Timonium Elementary and some others.
Cheryl January 17, 2013 at 01:31 AM
So many are quoted saying that children shouldn't be bussed to school and that they should go to schools in their neighborhoods. The children in the Mays Chapel area are bussed well out of their neighborhoods to overcrowded elementary schools. These children should have a school in their own Neighborhood - Mays Chapel.
JDStuts January 17, 2013 at 02:10 PM
"Matlooock!"
Lily January 22, 2013 at 02:40 PM
All of the schools in the catchment zones surrounding the mays chapel site are over capacity to a grand total of around 630 students. Unless a child lives close enough to a school to walk they are bused from the rest of their catchment zone. Has no one thought of the fact that once this new school is build these catchment zones will be rezoned to accomodate. The site of the school matters so that the over crowding at the most number of schools possible can be menipulated. It would be simple if children in an overcrowded school will be sent to the new school, or stay at their current school but if the school isn't in the right place than you could have some kids going to the new school, some kids staying at their neighborhood school and some kids switching between neighborhood schools. The school board needs flexibility in where they put the school. The plans for the school allow for some public use and I would think you'd be happy to have a school near you and prevent any registered sex offenders from being permitted to live in the surrounding community. Putting a school there can only increase your property values. This opposition if it succeeds is going to come back to haunt you as something not quite out completely.

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