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Council Resolution Puts Communities Closer To State Funding

A county council resolution passed last week puts Hillendale, Parkville and Overlea closer to receiving state funding for housing and commercial redevelopment projects.

Three area communities are part of a single area designated by the Baltimore County Department of Planning as a potential Maryland Sustainable Community.

Hillendale-Parkville-Overlea is one of four areas in Baltimore County that the department is nominating for the statewide program which, if the application is accepted, will make the area eligible to apply for state funding for use in the implementation of community plans, according to planning department director Andrea Van Arsdale.

A map illustrating the proposed boundaries of the Hillendale-Parkville-Overlea sustainable community is attached to this article.

Last week a critical step in the application process was completed when the Baltimore County Council approved resolutions in support of the nominated communities, Van Arsdale said.

Each community nominated for the state program had to have a resolution on the behalf of a legislative body in support of the nomination, Van Arsdale explained.

During a Nov. 19 council work session, resolutions were passed in support of Hillendale-Parkville-Overlea, Catonsville, the Pulaski Highway Redevelopment Areas and Dundalk.

"The four communities we chose are based on past planning efforts—they've been through a lot of public involvement and input," Van Arsdale said.

In the Hillendale-Parkville-Overlea area that means things like the Hillendale Community Plan, the commercial revitalization plan for the Four Corners shopping area (near the intersection of Taylor Avenue and Loch Raven Boulevard); the Parkville-Carney-Cub Hill Community Plan, and a recent joint city-county effort in conjunction with the Urban Land Institute to plan a revitalization of the Belair Road corridor, Van Arsdale said. 

"We have done all this planning work and we now are better positioned, having housing, land-use and development and commercial revitalization in [one county department], we're hoping to move toward implementing those plans." she said.

Additionally, Parkville and Overlea are both designated as commercial revitalization districts by the county.

Van Arsdale noted the increased interest in the Parkville business district on the part of residents.

"We really want to capitalize on that energy," she said.

The Maryland Sustainable Communities Act was adopted by the state legislature in 2010 and replaces phased-out Department of Housing and Commercial Development initiatives including the Community Legacy Areas and Designated Neighborhoods programs which provided state funding.

Communities designated as Maryland Sustainable Communities are eligible to apply for some $41.75 million in State fiscal year 2013 funds through programs like Community Legacy Grants, the Strategic Demolition and Smart Growth Impact Project, Maryland Department of Transportation Sidewalk Realignment, Neighborhood Business Works and others, according to a document released by the Department of Planning.

Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, whose sixth district includes Parkville, Overlea and—as of 2014, thanks to redistricting—Hillendale, said she was excited to learn the area had been targeted by the Department of Planning.

"The passage of the [Maryland] Sustainable Communities Resolutions was a very important step in ensuring continued success and revitalization efforts in the sixth district, both now and in the future," Bevins wrote in an email. 

She said the sustainable community designation will greatly benefit community and business association's efforts to revitalize Harford Road in Parkville and Belair Road in Overlea.  

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