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Demolition on Catonsville church site raises concerns

Posted at 10:32 PM, Oct 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-23 23:24:16-04

CATONSVILLE, Md. — People in a Catonsville community were shocked to see a landmark get torn down – seemingly out of nowhere.

As the dust settled people in the neighborhood started to worry about what was happening with the space.

The building was on a plot of land owned by The Church of the Good Shepherd.

The building was once a prominent funeral home that had been shut down for about ten years.

"The way I understood it is that it would be part of the project when that would be approved," said Matthew Reisner.

Reisner is the president of the Ingleside Neighborhood Association of Catonsville.

He said people in the are concerned that the already crowded community doesn’t have more room for families.

“There are many issues the community has with that including infrastructure in the area,” Reisner said. “We don’t have the proper storm management, we had major flooding last year due to the storm during Memorial Day.”

Conor Gilligan with Craftsmen Developers cleared up some of the concerns.

He said last year they had a proposal to build 9 single family homes, 23 town houses, and a new church on the space. He said that after two public hearings it became apparent that the community had big concerns over the burden that would put on school capacity.

“We are lacking space in the schools, Gainesville High School for example is projected to be well above capacity in the next ten years,” Reisner said. “People moved to Catonsville in particular for the schools. With that being issue not having the school capacity and moving more folks in."

Gilligan and the developers listened and decided not to try and move forward with that plan.

Instead they are looking into what they called age targeted designs, something that Reisner said the community would be more comfortable with.

“Gearing toward a 55 and older community,” Reisner said. “There’s many people in Catonsville who are aging, and this could be a way to keep them aging in their own community and have a mini community of folks that are of that age.”

Gilligan said until they can target a builder with the same vision they won’t move forward with the project.