North Point Council hears home insurance advice
Wednesday, 11 June 2014 12:16

Development issues also on group’s agenda

by John G. Bailey

    As is often the case, a range of issues were covered during the North Point Peninsula Council’s general meeting on June 5.
    Baltimore County Council candidates Buddy Staigerwald and Joe DiCara were in attendance, but less as opponents than as participants.
    In his introduction, Staigerwald voiced his opposition to any senior housing development plan for Fort Howard that exceeded the 350 units supported by the North Point Peninsula Council.
    As of the meeting, there has been no reported progress on the current development plan, which greatly exceeds that number. Fort Howard Development, the developer, has failed to meet any benchmarks required for a lease from the VA, which owns the land where the proposed project would be located. [see The Eagle, Sept. 13, 2012]
    Regarding the redevelopment of the former steel manufacturing site on Sparrows Point, Staigerwald opposed “smokestack” industries and instead favors using revenue raised by the stormwater remediation fees as seed money for cleaner businesses at the site.
    Staigerwald, however, stated his opposition to what has become known as the “rain tax.”
    NPPC vice president Fran Taylor raised concerns about water formerly used in steel manufacturing at Sparrows Point which continues to flow into the site. He suspects that untreated water is being discharged into Jones Creek.

In response, DiCara claimed that the water in question was being treated.
    The Eagle was unable to reach Hilco ­— owner of the Sparrows Point site — for clarification on the issue by press time.
    Both DiCara and Staigerwald opposed Josenhans Corner, a low- to moderate-income, high-density housing project now being considered in Essex, citing general community opposition to the plan.
    Guest speaker Mike Mascia, a representative of Fred Meyers and Sons Insurance Company in Edgemere, spoke about home insurance. He warned homeowners that most homes in the U.S. are underinsured.
    Muscia claimed most homeowers were unaware of the problem. He pointed to an increase in construction costs that outpaces coverage as a major cause of undercoverage. Other causes included new building codes, which raise the estimated costs of rebuilding.
    He stressed that insurance coverage estimates are not directly related to tax assessment values.  The tax assessment value of a home can stay the same while the insurance coverage estimate rises.       
    Mascia recommended that homeowners regularly get their homes assessed by professional insurance appraisers.
    Officer Russ Shipley of the Baltmore County Police Department gave the May police report for North Point peninsula. Of concern for the general southeast county region were a rise in scams against seniors and homeowners and the increase in iPhone thefts, which he characterized as “epidemic.”
    Ongoing community issues were addressed by council officers.
    NPPC president Harry Wujek reported that Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kemenetz has stated his commitment to the Edgemere streetscape project, the Karl Property project and other community improvement initiatives. As of yet, however, no funding for these projects has been allocated.
    The Karl Property is an undeveloped tract of land  located behind the North Point-Edgemere Volunteer Fire Department, between the Sparrows Point High School property and Willow Avenue. At a June 2010 public meeting at Edgemere Elementary School, county representatives and community advocates proposed plans for the site. There was strong support for using the land for public athletic fields at the meeting. A minority favored  making the area a wildlife refuge. The land  includes wetlands and a cove that enters Back River. Any development for human activity raises concerns about adverse impact on water quality of the river.
    Concerning Shaw’s farmhouse, Taylor reminded the meeting of the  public hearing by the Baltimore County Landmarks and Preservation Commission on the demolition-by-neglect complaint filed by  the North Point Peninsula Council against Shaw’s Discovery developer Marc Sapperstein, which is scheduled for Thursday, June 12. The hearing starts at 6  p.m. in Room 104 of the Jefferson Building, 105 W. Chesapeake Avenue in Towson.    
    The claim arose in response to concerns that Sapperstein has been negligent in maintaining the War of 1812-era farmhouse. [See The Eagle, April 17, 2014.]
    Taylor announced the official opening of the Star-Spangled Banner National Historic Trail, which took place in Bladensburg on Tuesday, June 3. The trail links War of 1812 sites in Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Virginia. Events scheduled throughout the summer along the trail will culminate in the Star-Spangled Spectacular, a celebration of the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem, from Sept. 10 to 16 in the Baltimore region.
    “There’ll be plenty to do this summer, and no reason to be bored,” Taylor said.
    For a list of bicentennial events and activities, visit