Contributed by Gary Nusinov
On May 1st, Baltimore County Councilman David Marks is introducing a bill to change the law regarding buffer zones and steep slopes as they are being applied to mountain biking and recreation at Loch Raven Reservoir. The current language of the ordinance states that trails are allowed within the 100 foot buffer as well as steep slopes but DPW has interpreted the same ordinance to mean that no trails are allowed within this area. Our interpretation comes from the language of the ordinance while DPW has not provided any legal or peer reviewed evidence to prove their position. This is the main reason that this fight over trail access continues. This change to the ordinance will clarify the language such to prevent DPW from using it against us.
Please note, that currently, this ordinance is only being applied to mountain bikers. The trails are not being closed to the other user groups (hikers, runners, fisherman, hunters, etc.) at this time although the intent of DPW is to close every singletrack multi-use trail within the steep slopes or 100’ buffer to every user group using a divide and conquer strategy. This will effectively close every trail existing in Loch Raven. The language of the current bill is discriminately being applied to only mountain biking.
We all know that trail building techniques have evolved. We have the expertise, volunteers, tools, money, etc. amongst us to build a sustainable trail system. Even on what is within 100’ feet of the water and on steep slopes. DPW has publicly admitted that they are not relying on science. This means they are relying on non quantitative and subjective reasoning in order to segregate certain parts of society that they do not agree with. This will lead to a very slippery slope. Segregation of class in a modern society can not be tolerated. EVER
On May 1st at 2:00pm the Baltimore County council is meeting in room 205 of the Historic Courthouse located at 400 Washington Avenue, Towson, MD 21204. The purpose of the meeting is to hold a work session regarding changing the law. It is extremely important that as many mountain bikers or supporters are present at this meeting. We need a show of numbers to make it very clear that we are a group that is in tune with local politics and that we fully support the changing of the bill. David Marks needs a total of five members to vote yes on this bill for it to pass.
When County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was council president, he said there was nothing he could do because this was a city issue. Now, he will veto the council vote if we do not get a large majority. Since Executive Kamanentz has entered office he has routinely ignored the call of the public and is ignoring scientific facts and Best Management Practices. The mountain biking plan has never been submitted to him or summarized by the writers of the plan and he is making decisions based on his cabinet’s opinions, not fact or reason. He is relying on Vince Gardina, somebody else that has NEVER been to a meeting.
The Bill was introduced by the County Council at its April 2, 2012 meeting. Bills will be discussed at the May 1, 2012 Work Session at 2 p.m. Final Reading and Vote will occur at the Legislative Session on Monday, May 7, 2012 at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers. For full text of the Bill 22-12, click here.