Baltimore County councilman moves to address school overcrowding

PERRY HALL, Md. - Perry Hall Middle School is already packed with students at almost 106% of capacity, Baltimore County Public School projections show that number soaring to 125% in 2024.  At Perry Hall High School, it's the same problem.  Enrollment is expected to climb to about 118% of capacity in eight-years.

Since the schools are severely stuffed, and no new buildings are planned by the district, County Councilman David Marks is taking action.

His plan is to use zoning to cut down on the amount of students living nearby.

“I am proposing to downzone about 1,260 acres of land in the Perry Hall area to help deal with school overcrowding," Marks said.        

The maps being considered change the current zoning, meaning future development on that property would be reduced to just one house for every acre.

"A lot of these areas are zoned for single family houses, townhouses, apartments, condominiums, we're taking that level of development down until we can get some relief for our schools."

Re-zoning in the county happens every four years.  Back in 2012, Marks blocked the intensive development of more than 400 acres in his district.

This time, he's being much more aggressive because he says the state of schools in Perry Hall is dire.

"I also hope, quite frankly, it's a bit of a wake-up call,” Marks said.  “I think the development community needs to be much more engaged in this issue, the marketability of our communities depends upon the quality of our schools, and I am urging our business community, our business leaders to get more involved in solving this problem."

The Baltimore County Council is set to vote on the zoning maps during a special session on August 30th.

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