The Oakleigh Pet Cemetery, located in the 8400 block of Oakleigh Road in Parkville, is one of the only cemeteries of its kind in Central Maryland. It is the final resting place for hundreds of dogs, cats, and other pets. Unfortunately, the property has deteriorated for years, leading to thousands of dollars in fines from Baltimore County government. This WBAL-TV report from three years ago vividly describes the problem.
Current zoning at this three-acre site is DR 5.5, which would allow a 15-unit development to be built there, irrespective of environmental constrants. Because of the uncertain future of this property, I will be asking my colleagues on the County Council to downzone the Oakleigh Pet Cemetery to DR 1, the lowest possible level of residential development. DR 1 would allow, at most, three houses to be built there if the land were to be sold for development.
I am also sponsoring legislation that would provide protections for anyone who purchased lots at the cemetery. At the August meeting of the Baltimore County Council, I will submit a bill that requires a pet cemetery owner to notify lot buyers if the cemetery is ever sold or used for a purpose other than a pet cemetery. The legislation also requires compensation for those who purchased lots.
The Oakleigh Pet Cemetery, like human graveyards, is supposed to be a place of serenity and beauty. I believe we owe it to pet lovers and the surrounding neighborhood to clean up the cemetery and place limitations on future uses.