Development and Land Use in Patapsco Valley State Park

See: Map of Land Use:  7.1 Land Use 3.7.14.pdf | Map of Zoning:  7.2 Zoning 3.7.14.pdf | Map of Recommended Land Use:  7.3 Land Use Recommendations 3.7.14.pdf

7.           Comprehensive Planning Context

7.1        Land Use Recommendations of Local Plans

Baltimore County

Master Plan 2020 (Baltimore County 2010) is the guiding document that directs where and how future development in Baltimore County will occur through 2020.  The plan builds on the successful concepts and strategies of previous plans and introduces a new framework of sustainability focused on fostering a healthy environment, vibrant communities, and economic vitality.  Following is a summary of the planning framework elements specifically related to growth and economic development within the Patapsco Heritage Area.  Other planning framework elements that are particularly relevant to the heritage area are addressed in sections 7.2 through 7.5 below.

Proposed Land Use – Patapsco Heritage Area

The Patapsco Heritage Area is located largely within Baltimore County’s Urban Area (figure 7.1).  The Urban Area encompasses land within the county’s Urban Rural Demarcation Line (URDL).   The Urban Area coincides with the Priority Funding Area (PFA) where Baltimore County proposes to concentrate use of state funds to support growth.  Land within the heritage area that is outside the URDL is within Baltimore County’s Rural Area and is within Patapsco Valley State Park or is undeveloped land that adjoins or is surrounded by Patapsco Valley State Park.

Baltimore County’s Proposed Land Use Map provides general recommendations for land use within the heritage area based on the policies in Master Plan 2020. The map is conceptual and general, and is intended to reflect land use patterns and support the land use objectives of Master Plan 2020, rather than identify land use of individual properties or parcels.  Five land use categories – ranging from the most natural to the most urban – occur within the Patapsco Heritage Area (figure 7.1):

·         T-2 (Rural Zone) consists of sparsely settled lands in an open or cultivated state.  These include woodlands, agricultural lands, and grasslands.  Typical buildings may include farmhouses and agricultural buildings.

·         T-2 R (Rural Residential Zone) consists of large lot single-family detached housing. Plantings are informal.  All setbacks are generally 50+ feet.  Lots are deep to accommodate a larger backyard.  Density varies between 2 to 5 acres per dwelling.

·         T-3 (Sub-Urban Zone) includes low-density residential areas, adjacent to higher zones that contain mixed use.  Home occupations and outbuildings may be allowed.  

 

Landscaping is naturalistic and setbacks are relatively deep. Blocks may be large and the roads irregular to accommodate natural conditions.

·         T-4 (General Urban Zone) is characterized by mixed-use, but is primarily residential urban fabric.  It may have a wide range of building types including single-family detached and attached houses, and townhouses.  Setbacks and landscaping are variable. Streets with curbs and sidewalks define medium-sized blocks.

·         T-5 (Urban Center Zone) includes higher density mixed-use buildings that accommodate retail, offices, townhouses, and apartments.  It has a tight network of streets, with wide sidewalks, steady street tree planting and buildings set close to the sidewalks.

Land Management Areas – Patapsco Heritage Area

Master Plan 2020 designates “Land Management Areas” that organize Baltimore County into general policy areas.  The purpose of these areas is to express the general intention of the county regarding development and provision of services.  More specific details pertaining to these areas can be found in their respective sections of the plan.  Additionally, many of these areas have specific community level plans adopted as part of Master Plan 2020.

Resource Preservation Areas – Resource preservation areas are designed to protect environmental, historic, and cultural resources, while allowing only limited residential, commercial, or institutional development.  Within the Patapsco Heritage Area, the Patapsco River corridor (T2 Natural area on figure 7.1) is a designated resource preservation area.  While most of this area is within Patapsco Valley State Park, there are a number of undeveloped parcels adjoining the park or surrounded by the park.  Master Plan 2020 recommends the following actions related to resource preservation areas:

·         Recommend that the County Council when evaluating rezoning requests carefully evaluate any proposed zoning changes that would permit additional residential density or increased commercial development in the R.C.6, 7, and 8 zones.

·         Complete detailed studies to determine the existing and potential residential densities in resource preservation areas.

·         Consider limiting residential densities to one dwelling unit per 25-50 acres.   Consider limiting density calculation to net density for resource zones.

·         Delineate and coordinate the public use of resource preservation areas for recreational benefits.

·         Protect and foster forests and stream systems through conservation easements that prevent the continued fragmentation of these critical resources.

·         Continue to support state and county programs that encourage sustainable forest management and initiatives to retain forestlands for multiple ecological and economic benefits.

Community Enhancement Areas – Baltimore County has designated numerous community enhancement areas (CEAs) throughout the county.  CEAs are areas considered suitable for sustainable redevelopments that are compact, mixed-use, and walkable.  Within the Patapsco Heritage Area the T5 Urban Center in Catonsville is a designated CEA.  Master Plan 2020 recommends the following actions to encourage development and redevelopment of under-utilized properties within CEAs:

·         With assistance from all stakeholders, including citizens, developers, property owners, and government officials, identify appropriate sites within the URDL boundary, for potential redevelopment as CEAs.

·         Examine the selected areas for adequate infrastructure, existing and proposed open/civic spaces, public transportation options, environmental constraints and any other challenges.

·         Prioritize sites for greatest potential for success, with possible Transit Oriented Development (TOD) projects having the highest priority.

·         Investigate all possible incentives that would encourage/facilitate redevelopment of under-utilized commercial properties.

·         Develop specialized overlay zones that represent community consensus. Involve all stakeholders in the planning process with tools such as an Urban Design Assistance Team (UDAT) or a public planning charrette process.

·         Encourage quality, sustainable design, with great emphasis on walkability, connectivity, and improvement of the quality of stormwater runoff.

·         Review all subsequent plans and building permits for compliance with the approved development proposal.

·         Examine the development plan and permit review procedures for methods to expedite the approval process.

·         Create a new mixed-use zone intended to accommodate residential, employment, office and retail uses in the same development and/or structure, and apply the new zone to areas designated as CEAs.

·         Develop standards to assure the provision of appropriate and adequate open spaces that meet the needs of new residents.

·         Work with private lenders and investors to make sufficient financing available for redevelopment projects. Funding for the development entity’s activities could consist of public and private funds, including loan deposit funds made available by local and regional lenders.

·         Consider offering Tax Increment Financing (TIFs), Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs), and other tax incentives to reduce the private sector costs of redevelopment that promotes a public purpose.

Community Conservation Areas.  Community conservation areas (CCAs) encompass Baltimore County’s more densely populated, established communities.  Within the heritage area, all land in Baltimore County – exclusive of the Catonsville CEA (T5 Urban Center) and the Resource Preservation Area (T2 Natural area) – is designated a CCA.  Preserving CCAs is a fundamental component of the county’s critical effort to effectively maintain, strengthen, and manage its built environment.  In the future, the county’s community conservation strategy will include actions in the areas of sustainable housing, homeownership, workforce housing, and green housing.

Howard County

PlanHoward 2030 (Howard County 2013c) is Howard County’s current adopted comprehensive plan that provides the framework for decision making related to development, land preservation, changing demographic and employment trends, neighborhood sustainability, capital projects, county services, and other key issues.  The plan is organized into three major parts to address the three key aspects of sustainability – environment, economy, and community quality of life.  Following is a summary of the planning framework elements specifically related to managing growth and fostering economic development within the Patapsco Heritage Area.  Other planning framework elements that are particularly relevant to the heritage area are addressed in sections 7.2 through 7.5 below.

Designated Places – Patapsco Heritage Area

The Patapsco Heritage Area is located within Howard County’s Priority Funding Area (PFA) (figure 7.1).  The PFA encompasses the easternmost 40 percent of the county where Howard County proposes to concentrate use of state funds to support growth.  Land within the PFA is assigned to one of two focused target areas for future growth: Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas or Established Communities.  The entire PFA is within the county’s Planned Service Area (PSA) for both public water and sewerage.  

Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas.  Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas are areas where current policies, zoning, and other regulations, as well as policies suggested in PlanHoward 2030 seek to focus most future county growth.  Within the Patapsco Heritage Area, there are three areas that are designated as Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas:

·         Ellicott City

·         College Avenue/Taylor Manor area (east of Ellicott City)

·         Elkridge (three areas near another in the Elkridge area)

Plan Howard 2030 (Howard County 2013c) notes the following about Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas:

·         Based on land availability and current zoning, the county projects that by 2030 one-third of all new homes in Howard County will be single-family detached and two-thirds will be townhouses or apartments.  These are typically more affordable housing products and will help accommodate diverse housing needs.  All of these product types will be located in the PFA and most within the Targeted Growth and Revitalization areas.

·         Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas offer opportunities to create more compact, complete communities at densities that can support a mix of uses and transportation options.  Higher density, mixed-use development is critical to accommodating future growth that minimizes impacts on the environment, existing communities, and the Rural West.   New, complete communities should be designed to ensure that they:

          exhibit housing, jobs, and service diversity

          have streets and buildings that are well integrated and of a human-scale design

          are walkable, bikeable, and have access to good transit service

          support shared parking

          contain vibrant public spaces and activity-filled destinations as well as access to green space and natural areas

          minimize adverse impacts and restore degraded environment features

          meet green building standards including use of renewable energy

          are compatible with neighboring uses

·         Within the Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas there should be opportunities for more detailed planning for the development of transit-supportive densities and land uses, as well as pedestrian and bicycle connectivity.

·         Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas are more likely to need expanded public facilities and developers of new projects are expected to either construct or contribute to facility capacity

·         Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas are places where existing community patterns are expected to experience more change.

Established Communities.  Established communities are areas that consist of already established residential and commercial areas in the eastern portion of the county where limited growth is expected, primary through residential infill development.  Within the Patapsco Heritage Area, all of the land within Howard County outside of the Targeted Growth and Revitalization Areas is designated in PlanHoward 2030 (Howard County 2012c) as Established Communities.

Plan Howard 2030 (Howard County 2013c) notes the following about Established Communities:

·         Established Communities predominately consist of existing single-family neighborhoods or business areas to be respected with limited infill and enhancement.

·         Established Communities where enhancements will primarily focus on maintaining infrastructure and creating more complete communities.

·         While these areas are collectively much larger than the collective targeted growth and revitalization areas, Established Communities have much less growth capacity.

·         Within Existing Communities, facility maintenance and renovation would be the focus. The addition of sidewalks, stormwater management, or new open space could be beneficial in areas where these were not required under previous regulations.  Since the county’s Rural West area will experience only limited growth, maintenance of existing facilities is a priority.  Budget constraints will require a balanced approach to making funding decisions that support both growth and the enhancement of existing communities while continuing to maintain and renovate older, existing infrastructure and facilities.

Route 1 Corridor Redevelopment Area

The southern portion of the heritage area encompasses a 1.5-mile section of the Route 1 Corridor in Elkridge, the oldest section of the Route 1 Corridor in Howard County.  The Route 1 Corridor, most of which is west of the heritage area, is home to 30 percent of Howard County’s jobs, making it a vital economic asset.  The corridor holds competitive advantages for attracting investment in office development which, when it happens, will increase jobs and generate additional opportunities for commercial and residential development. Some of this redevelopment is anticipated within the Route 1 corridor that is within the Patapsco Heritage Area.  The Route 1 Corridor Revitalization Study Phase 2 Report (Howard County 2002) identifies specific Community Activity Centers in Elkridge within the heritage area where redevelopment should be facilitated.

To maximize opportunities for redevelopment and achieve the desired vision for the Route 1 Corridor, PlanHoward 2030 (Howard County 2013c) recommends employing strategies to offset the inherent drawbacks associated with redevelopment aimed at facilitating new development and redevelopment projects that catalyze economic growth, protect existing employment areas, and enhance existing communities:

·         Economic Growth.  Focus incentives on opportunity sites within the Route 1 Corridor and on key industry market sectors with strong growth potential in Howard County.

·         Beneficial Projects.  Adopt a tiered incentive program that provides benefits commensurate with the proposed project’s potential benefit to the county.

·         Nodes.  Develop plans for key opportunity areas that allow for significant future intensification, while maximizing current and intermediate development potential and protecting industrially zoned land.

·         Land Assembly.  Encourage land assembly to prevent piecemeal redevelopment and facilitate projects that are integral to the county’s long-term development strategy.

·         Partnering.  Evaluate specific scenarios where the county might benefit from engaging in public/private development partnerships, including opportunities for nonprofits.

·         Transportation.  Promote, plan, and protect bicycle, pedestrian, and transit access in the Route 1 Corridor.

7.1        Resource Conservation – Historic Preservation

Baltimore County Historic Preservation Program

Ongoing Historic Preservation Program Elements

Baltimore County Historic Properties Inventory.  Baltimore County maintains an Inventory of Historic Properties with more than 3,000 properties located throughout the county.  Listing imposes no restrictions on what property owners may do with a property.  Approximately 5 percent of the listed properties are within the Patapsco Heritage Area (see section 5.1).

Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission.  The Baltimore County Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) approves the inclusion of historic properties along with their historic environmental setting (HES) (see below) on the Preliminary Landmarks List and the formation of county historic districts.  The LPC also approves exterior alterations affecting any structures on the Preliminary or Final Baltimore County Landmarks List and all developments including exterior alterations, within county historic districts. 

Baltimore County Landmarks List.  Baltimore County maintains a Designated Final Landmarks List (Baltimore County 2013a).  The Landmarks List was created to preserve structures that have historical, architectural, archeological, or cultural merit deemed significant to Baltimore County’s heritage.  Landmark structures include a Historic Environmental Setting (HES) where they have an associated property or lot or portion thereof which is historically, architecturally, archeologically, or culturally connected to its historic significance.  Baltimore County has identified 25 landmarks within the Patapsco Heritage Area (see section 5.1).

Designation as a county landmark means that any exterior modification or addition, as well as any excavation, building, or demolition permit, is subject to approval by the LPC Treatment guidance includes the county’s Historic Design Guidelines, Basic Principles of Historic Preservation (Baltimore County 1991) and the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (US DOI 1998).

Baltimore County Historic Districts.  Baltimore County has designated 17 county historic districts, of which four are within the Patapsco Heritage Area (see section 5.1).  As with Baltimore County Landmarks, any exterior modification to a structure in a district, or any excavation, building, or demolition permit, is subject to approval by the LPC.  In addition, the LPC’s authority within a county historic district includes the site surrounding and adjoining individual structures, which may be important in maintaining the sense of historic character.  New developments within a historic district are also subject to LPC approval, which ensures compatible infill development.

Baltimore County Historic Tax Credits.  Baltimore County offers one type of property tax credit for rehabilitation expenditures on historic resources that is available for residential or commercial properties

·         For residential properties, a historic tax credit for qualified expenses provides a tax credit equal to 20 percent of the cost of eligible work.  This type of tax credit may be applied to projects costing $1,000 or more.

·         For commercial properties, a historic tax credit for qualified expenses amounts to the difference between the assessed value before the rehabilitation work began and the increase in assessment attributable to the rehabilitation work. In order to generate a reassessment, the work has to be significant – generally in excess of $50,000.  The credit may not however, exceed the actual amount of the tax levied on the property in any tax year.

Eligible properties include:

·         Properties that are on the Designated Final Landmarks List (Baltimore County 2013a)

·         Properties that are individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places

·         Properties that are “contributing” properties (as defined by Baltimore County) located within a National Historic District or within one of the 17 Baltimore County historic districts. 

Baltimore County Master Plan 2020 Historic Preservation Policies and Implementing Actions

Master Plan 2020 (Baltimore County 2010) recognizes the achievements made in preserving Baltimore County’s historic resources and outlines other measures that could be undertaken to strengthen historic preservation in Baltimore County.  Implementing actions include:

·         Promote historic preservation through improved education.

          Provide information about preservation issues so the public can make informed decisions about historic resources.

          Develop programs to educate the public about the economic, environmental, and cultural benefits of historic preservation.

          Make pertinent information available on the Baltimore County web site along with links to additional sources and studies.

·         Preserve historic structures and their settings.

          Continue to utilize nomination to the landmarks list as a means to safeguard historic buildings.

          Encourage and facilitate use of the County’s historic property rehabilitation tax credit program.

·         Preserve and protect cultural resources.

          Incorporate a list of cultural resources in community plans and explore the best methods to preserve them.

          Continue to work cooperatively with the Department of Public Works, the Office of Community Conservation and the communities to support improvements to preserve and enhance Historic African-American Communities.

·         Increase awareness about the importance of archeological resources.

          Educate the public and other agencies about the importance of archeological resources.

·         Coordinate historic preservation with the County’s rural strategy.

          Encourage owners of rural historic resources to place their property on the Landmarks List – particularly properties that are important to the agricultural history of Baltimore County and which are located along scenic routes.

          Continue to protect designated “view sheds” of historic resources , either by limiting new development within view of the historic resource, or by buffering new development from the view of such resources.

Howard County Historic Preservation Program

Ongoing Historic Preservation Program Elements

Howard County Historic Sites Inventory.  Howard County maintains a Historic Sites Inventory of 945 architecturally and historically significant properties located throughout the county.  Properties listed on the inventory are eligible for historic tax credits.  Any property listed on the inventory that proposes a subdivision or site development plan must present the plan to Historic District Commission for advisory comments.  Approximately one-third of the listed properties are within the Patapsco Heritage Area (see section 5.1).

Howard County Historic District Commission.  Since 1973, the Howard County Historic District Commission has played an important role in historic preservation in the county.  The commission’s primary responsibility is in preserving the historic character of the Ellicott City and Lawyer’s Hill National Historic Districts.  The commission also has a countywide role in promoting historic preservation, approving tax incentives for improvements to eligible, privately owned historic buildings, and advising county agencies on the treatment of county-owned historic properties.

Ellicott City and Lawyer’s Hill Historic Districts.  The two locally designated historic districts subject to the HDC’s authority are Ellicott City and Lawyer’s Hill, both of which are within the Patapsco Heritage Area.   The HDC must review all proposals for construction, demolition, or exterior alterations of properties in the historic districts.  Published design guidelines (Howard County 1998 and 1995) describe the architectural and landscape elements that reflect each district’s history, and suggest guidelines for rehabilitation and new construction that will best preserve its historic character.  The guidelines provide a framework for the HDC’s review of applications and help property owners plan their projects and prepare applications for the commission.  Exterior changes to non-historic buildings are subject to the same review requirements as other historic buildings, although improvements to non-historic buildings must only be compatible with the district’s general historic character and need not look “historic.”

Ellicott City Façade Improvement Program.  The Ellicott City Façade Improvement Program (FIP) is a program administered by the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning to aid property and business owners in the repair and restoration of commercial buildings within the Ellicott City Historic District.  All FIP applications must first be reviewed and approved by the HDC.  Planning and Zoning staff administering the FIP review applications concurrently with the HDC.  The program provides up to $10,000 in matching funds for façade repair and restoration.  Building and business owners can apply for up to 50% of the cost of their project.  Funds are available on a “first-come first-served” basis. 

Howard County Local Property Tax Incentives.  Howard County offers two types of local property tax incentives for work that restores or preserves an eligible historic property:

·         A historic tax credit for qualified expenses provides a tax credit equal to 10 percent of the cost of eligible work.  This type of tax credit may be applied to projects costing $500 or more.

·         A historic tax credit for increase in assessed value abates the increase in property tax that would result from increased assessed value due to the restoration work done, as determined by the Maryland State Departments of Assessments and Taxation.  This tax credit may be applied to project costing $5,000 or more, and are granted annually for ten years after the work is completed.

Tax incentives may be applied to eligible historic sites throughout the county as well as to properties in local historic districts.  The HDC must review an application submitted by the property owner before any work is performed and make certain findings.  Eligible properties include:

·         A structure that is listed on or determined eligible for the Howard County Historic Sites Inventory and is designated by the HDC as historically significant.

·         An existing principal structure located within a historic district which the HDC determines to be of historic or architectural significance, or to be architecturally compatible with the historic structures in the district.

·         A cemetery, at least 50 years old, not operated as a business, and which is listed on the Howard County Cemetery Inventory.

Howard County Cemetery Inventory and Howard County Cemetery Preservation Advisory Board.  Howard County maintains an inventory of more than 200 burial ground sites throughout the county.  The Cemetery Preservation Advisory Board is responsible for oversight of the inventory, and for preservation of historic burial grounds through various means, including education, projects, and initiatives, as well as creation of laws, regulations and procedures that would be considered by the Howard County Council and the County Executive for implementation.

PlanHoward 2030 – Historic Preservation Policies and Implementing Actions

PlanHoward 2030 (Howard County 2013c) recognizes the achievements made in preserving Howard County’s historic resources and outlines other measures that could be undertaken to strengthen historic preservation in Howard County.  Implementing actions include:

·         Historic Tax Credits.  Promote greater use of County historic tax credits for properties in local historic districts or listed on the Historic Sites Inventory.

·         Programs and Laws.  Strengthen historic preservation programs and laws both to prevent demolition and incentivize restoration and adaptive reuse.

·         Historic Sites Inventory.  Continue to update the Historic Sites Inventory.

·         Grants. Apply for Maryland Historical Trust grants for documentation of archeological resources, museum collections, and oral histories.

·         Potential New Districts.  Work with property owners regarding the merits of establishing new historic districts, where owners have expressed interest.

·         Main Street Program.  Explore establishing a Main Street program for Ellicott City.

·         Historic Preservation Strategic Plan.  Work with historic preservation advocates and other stakeholder groups and create an historic preservation plan to broaden awareness of our heritage and encourage renovation and reuse of historic resources.

·         Public Awareness.  Increase public awareness of historic preservation by expanding and promoting educational opportunities for residents to learn about the County’s history and historic sites.

·         Cemeteries.  Undertake outreach to historic cemetery owners regarding best practices for maintenance, restoration, and historic tax credit.

·         Historic Ellicott City.  Promote, plan, and protect safe pedestrian access in the retail section of Historic Ellicott City.

Historic Preservation Strategic Plan.  The Howard County DPZ is currently collaborating with Historic Preservation Advocates to develop a historic preservation plan, as recommended in PlanHoward 2030, for consideration by County Council and the County Executive for implementation.  The plan’s purpose is to provide guidance and direction for the current and future preservation of Howard County’s non-renewable historic and cultural resources, as well as to ensure the county’s future plans for growth will protect historic resources in a coordinated, recognized and measured manner (Howard County 2013a).  The historic preservation plans advocates for the preservation of historical and cultural resources by continued identification, documentation, evaluation, and protection (Howard County 2013a).  Historic preservation policies and strategies are also designed to encourage public appreciation for local history and to enhance stewardship by all owners of historic resources.  Proposed actions seek to accomplish the following nine goals (Howard County 2013a):

·         Preserve the cultural, historical, and archeological resources of Howard County.

·         Create a new Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) to become the steward of the Howard County Historic Preservation Plan.

·         Strengthen laws and regulations to ensure adequate protection of historic resources, districts, sites, roads, landscapes, and archeological resources.

·         Continually evaluate and identify historical, cultural, and archeological resources.

·         Develop, promote, and maintain financial resources to further historic preservation.

·         Increase public education and outreach.

·         Enhance protection of cemeteries.

·         Support historic neighborhoods and commercial area revitalization.

·         Promote heritage tourism.

7.2        Resource Conservation – Local Land Preservation, Recreation and Parks

Maryland’s Program Open Space, as most recently amended, requires the 23 counties and Baltimore City, to submit Local Preservation, Parks, and Recreation Plans every five years.  The local plans provide the basis for the statewide plan which will provide a framework for the state to implement an integrated and coordinated approach to the provision of recreation lands and facilities as well as the protection of natural resources and agriculture.

Baltimore County 2012 Land Preservation, Parks and Recreation Plan

Recreation Parks and Open Space

Baltimore County’s priorities for addressing its most significant parkland and recreation facilities needs for 2012 through 2022 and beyond are outlined in its Land Preservation, Recreation and Parks Plan (Baltimore County 2012a).  Within the heritage area there is one major priority for parkland and recreation facilities.  The plan identifies land acquisition and facility development for a large scale indoor and outdoor recreation facilities (+35 acres) to be potentially implemented as part of redevelopment of the Spring Grove Hospital Complex in Catonsville.

Agricultural Land Preservation

Baltimore County will continue to refine and rely on the agricultural land preservation efforts that have been a key component of rural growth management in the county for over 40 years.  The county has set a goal of protecting by the year 2022 a total of 80,000 acres of agricultural and natural resource lands through conservation easements and other similar legal instruments.  Implementation actions relevant to the few remaining rural and natural lands within the heritage area that are not yet in public ownership in Baltimore County (figure 7.1) include:

·         Continue to seek and encourage the donation and sale of easements through the various land preservation programs.

·         Conduct landowner outreach and public education to increase awareness of these conservation programs and garner interest in land protection.

·         Identify and preserve parcels large enough to support normal agricultural and forestry activities.

·         Fairly compensate farmers for loss of development rights.

·         Work with state and local partners to monitor and steward existing conservation easements to ensure compliance with agreements to protect the County’s investments in agricultural land preservation.

·         Continue to seek adequate funding to acquire easements on at least 2500 acres per year.

Other agricultural land preservation actions in Master Plan 2020 (Baltimore County 2010) do not apply to the heritage area because it does not include any Agricultural Priority Preservation Areas or Rural Legacy Areas.

Natural Resource Conservation

Greenways.  Baltimore County has designated greenways that are envisioned to provide networks of open space and parklands which are utilized for preservation, recreation, or both (Baltimore County 2010 and 2012a).  In the upstream portion of the heritage area, recreational greenways are designated along Brice Run, Bens Run, and Dogwood Run.  In the Catonsville area, a recreational greenway is designated along Cooper Branch/Trolley Line #9 Trail, which includes a connection through Catonsville to an environmental greenway designated along Soapstone Branch.  The principal mechanism for protection of designated greenways is through regulatory efforts by the Department of Recreation and Parks and the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability (EPS).  The Department of Recreation and Parks seeks to create a broader spectrum of both recreational and environmental greenways through requirements for easements and reservations during the development plan process.  EPS seeks to establish easements through its Forest Buffer and State Forest Conservation Programs that require easements on streams and Forest Conservation Program as part of receiving approval for development plans.

Other Natural Resource Conservation Initiatives.  Other important initiatives upon which Baltimore County will continue to rely to help conserve natural resources are: actions to protect, restore, and manage forest resources; actions to protect plant and animal habitats; actions to protect, restore, and manage watersheds; implementation of an education and citizen participation program; and actions to restore rivers and streams.

Howard County 2012 Land Preservation, Recreation and Parks Plan

Recreation Parks and Open Space

Howard County’s priorities for addressing its most significant parkland and recreation facilities needs for 2013 through 2028 are outlined in its Land Preservation, Recreation and Parks Plan (Howard County 2012b).  Two projects are identified within the Patapsco Heritage Area.  At the Patapsco Female Institute identified improvements include construction of a restroom, lighting, fencing, shelter, roads, parking, and landscaping; these improvements are estimated to occur in the short-range (2013-2017).  At Rockburn Branch Park identified improvements include restoration of the farmhouse and construction of an enclosed sports facility, sports fields, playgrounds, picnic areas, parking and court games on Parcel M, lighting replacement on Phase I and installation of synthetic turf on Field #15; these improvements are estimated to be spread over the short-range (2013-2017) and the mid-range (2018-2023).

Agricultural Land Preservation

Howard County will continue to refine and rely on three main techniques to protect agricultural land: agricultural preservation easements, county zoning and subdivision regulation, and the Economic Development Authority’s Agricultural Marketing Program (Howard County 2012b).  Of these techniques, the easement program has the most relevance to the heritage area.  In Howard County, 6 percent of the heritage area is currently protected through agricultural or environmental easements. 

Natural Resource Conservation

Greenways.  Howard County has designated several recreational greenways that are envisioned to include multi-purpose trails that are accessible to the public because they are publicly owned or through easements (Howard County 2012b).  One greenway is within the Patapsco Heritage Area.  The Patapsco Regional Greenway is a partially established, multi-jurisdictional greenway along the Patapsco River.  Patapsco Valley State Park forms the greenway spine.  Within the heritage area the park includes 5,346 acres of protected land along the river in Baltimore and Howard Counties.  On the Howard County side of the river the greenway is continuous, with the exception of three areas: Daniels, Ellicott City, and Elkridge.  On the Baltimore County side of the river the greenway is continuous with the exception of five areas: Oella, the Frederick Road area near Ellicott City, Avalon, Relay, and below Elkridge.

Greenway Expansion Areas.  A greenway expansion area is also designated along the Patapsco River within the heritage area (Howard County 2012b).  This is an area that Howard County hopes to preserve in the future in cooperation with the state and Baltimore County. In addition to preserving the environmental amenities along the corridor, the purpose is to use the greenway infill lands to connect lands already preserved.  For that reason, the expansion area corresponds with the existing gaps in Patapsco Valley State Park along the Patapsco River in Howard County. 

Other Natural Resource Conservation Initiatives.  Other important initiatives upon which Howard County will continue to rely to help conserve natural resources are subdivision regulations (such as buffer requirements and prohibition of development on steep slopes and within floodplains), watershed planning, stormwater management requirements in new developments, and forest cover requirements of the Howard County Forest Conservation Act (Howard County 2012b).    

7.1        Resource Conservation – Green Infrastructure

Baltimore County Green Infrastructure

Baltimore County’s program to protect its green infrastructure includes greenway elements, a recreational acquisition element, and a greenprint element.  Occurrences of the first two of these elements within the Patapsco Heritage Greenway and the mechanisms to protect them are summarized above in section 7.4.  The third green infrastructure element – the greenprint element – has been identified through the state’s green print mapping process (MD DNR 2000). 

Several green infrastructure components are recommended for the Baltimore County portion of the Patapsco Heritage Area (see section 5.3 and figure 5.3).  A total of approximately __ acres within the heritage area in Baltimore County are recommended as green infrastructure, including 3,300 acres in hubs and 200 acres in corridors – encompassing __ percent of the heritage area.  Of this recommended green infrastructure, approximately ___ acres ( __%) have already been protected through fee simple acquisition and are included within Patapsco Valley State Park or  Baltimore County parks.  The principal mechanisms identified by Baltimore County for protecting the remaining recommended green infrastructure are either fee simple acquisition, purchase of easements, or forest banks on properties that contain forest resources.

Howard County Green Infrastructure

Howard County’s Green Infrastructure Network Plan (Howard County 2012b) is designed to define, protect, and enhance a green infrastructure network that includes and links the most ecologically significant natural areas in Howard County.  The recommended green infrastructure network builds upon the framework provided through the state’s green print mapping program (Maryland 2000).  The expressed purpose of the county’s green infrastructure plan is to enable planners to consider important natural resources when preparing other county plans, making decisions about zoning and development proposals, acquiring land for parks and public facilities, and obtaining easements (Howard County 2012b). 

Several green infrastructure components are recommended for the Howard County portion of the Patapsco Heritage Area (see section 5.3 and figure 5.3).  A total of approximately __ acres within the heritage area in Howard County are recommended as green infrastructure, including 3,000 acres in hubs and 200 acres in corridors – encompassing __ percent of the heritage area.  Of this recommended green infrastructure, approximately ___ acres ( __%) have already been protected through fee simple acquisition and are included within Patapsco Valley State Park or  Howard County parks.  The principal mechanisms identified by Howard County to protect and enhance the network include stewardship, financial incentives, regulatory protection, easement, and acquisition.  The county’s implementation priorities are:

·         Short Term (2 to 3 years)

­          Integrate the Green Infrastructure Network Plan into county planning efforts, including the development review process, watershed management planning, the capital improvement program, and park and open space acquisition planning.

­          Set priorities for easement and land acquisition; use existing programs to begin acquisitions.

­          Develop management plans for each hub and corridor; include confirmation of the viability and location of potential corridors.

­          Use existing and new outreach programs to encourage and aide stewardship.

­          Develop protocols to monitor changes in the network.

·         Mid Term (3 to 5 years)

­          Establish a new easement/land acquisition program.

­          Amend development regulations and design standards to increase protection of sensitive resources.

­          Institute financial incentives such as a property tax credit or cost share program for more costly best management practice on private property.

­          Update the network map on a regular basis and prepare an indicators report.

·         Long-Term (5 or more years)

­          Review and update management plans on a regular basis.

­          Conduct periodic reviews of regulations and programs for any needed adjustments to ensure protection and enhancement of the network.

7.2        Resource Conservation – Scenic Resources

Baltimore County Scenic Resources

Master Plan 2020 (Baltimore County 2010) recognizes the county’s efforts to protect its scenic resources, beginning in 1991 when the county adopted a set of development guidelines to protect scenic corridors and views. Scenic routes identified by the county and the State Highway Administration that are within the Patapsco Heritage Area include Historic National Road (a national scenic byway and All American Road) and various road in the Oella, Catonsville, and Daniels areas.  Master Plan 2020 (Baltimore County 2010) outlines additional measures that could be undertaken to strengthen protection of scenic resources.  Those relevant to the Patapsco Heritage Area include:

·         Preserve scenic corridors and views through proper zoning and coordination with federal and state governments.

­          Coordinate scenic resource management practices with the national and state Scenic Byways Programs.

­          Evaluate proposed improvements to state and county roads and bridges regarding their impact on scenic resources in compliance with the adopted Rural Roads Standards. Where public safety allows, the narrow and/or winding character of roads is part of the scenic experience and ought to be preserved.

­          Assess proposed development impacts on scenic resources.

­          Clarify language regarding scenic corridors and views protection and make it consistent amongst the Master Plan, Comprehensive Manual of Development Policies, Baltimore County Zoning Regulations, Baltimore County Code, and SHA Context Sensitive Solutions for work on scenic byways.

­          Establish criteria for identifying significant views and geocode them on maps.

­          Apply a systematic methodology for evaluation of scenic routes and preservation techniques.  Update scenic resources map in accordance with the most recently adopted state scenic byways.

­          For properties along scenic routes or within scenic viewsheds, variances, amendments, and special exceptions should be granted sparingly.

 Howard County

PlanHoward 2030 – Scenic Road Policies and Implementing Actions

PlanHoward 2030 (Howard County 2013c) recognizes the county’s efforts to protect the character of its scenic roads, beginning in 1994 with adoption of the Scenic Roads Act.  The Act ensures that “new development abutting a scenic road is designed to minimize impacts on scenic views from the road.”  In 1994, an inventory of roads was conducted for designation by the Act.  While most scenic roads are in the Rural West portion of the county, many are in the Patapsco Heritage area, found in the historic communities of Elkridge and Ellicott City areas and in the College Road/Landing Road corridors that connect the two communities. PlanHoward 2030 (Howard County 2013c) outlines additional measures that could be undertaken to strengthen protection of scenic roads including:

·         Survey Update.  Conduct a survey of the roads currently on the scenic roads inventory to evaluate whether the roads still qualify for scenic road status.

·         Regulations Update.  Determine if amendments to the County Code and/or Design Manual could further enhance protections for scenic roads.