I applaud the director of the Family Crisis Center (FCC) for her dramatic energy in the proposed expansion of the program to create a rooming/boarding house at the St. Rita’s property. The materials recently distributed to the community now focus on the lack of impact the project will have on the immediate neighborhood. The materials suggest that 12 units with 2-4 bedrooms and office space for an average of 6 staff per day (originally petitioned for up to 16) would not affect the parking and traffic in and around the area. They were also eloquently designed to describe the project in such a way that anyone against the project would appear to be against all humankind.

I would point out that most of the “community” doesn’t live directly across the street, down the street, around the corner, or behind the proposed project. I’m guessing that the proposed boarders would not be restricted in hosting family and friends; therefore, most of the “community” would not be directly impacted by the comings and goings of the proposed boarders, their families, friends, their children’s’ friends and FCC staff and vendors servicing the project. Numbers like 12 residents and 6 staff suggest low impact. On the other end of the spectrum would be a full complement of residents and their children up to 18 years old that could take those numbers to upwards of 60, plus additional staff as needed. That does not suggest low impact. Whether the project goes immensely well or horribly wrong, those not living directly in the neighborhood would be unaffected.

The materials also want us to believe that this project represents “one of the lowest-density uses ever considered for this site” suggesting that the old St. Rita’s school, when operating, involved the comings and goings of 600 daily visitors, like it was yesterday. St. Rita’s hasn’t seen that much activity in 50 years.

And let’s talk about the funding. $9.5 million of our taxpayer dollars has been earmarked for this project while crime soars in our community. $9.5 million dollars divided by 12 units would suggest that an average of $790,000 dollars would be spent PER UNIT. The county could buy 12 rowhomes with 2 million dollars and have $7.5 million left over. This is flagrantly disrespectful to the taxpayers of Baltimore County. Keep in mind there apparently isn’t enough money to fix our roads and infrastructure and we have asphalt sidewalks around the brand-new Dundalk Elementary School. I’m incensed by the lack of respect our county government has for our constituency.

Meanwhile, the crime rate in and around our neighborhood now includes frequent reports of gun shots across from Dundalk Elementary School, people walking through our neighborhood checking door handles, vehicles with expired tags, and disabled vehicles parked throughout the community. Last week, one of our neighbors was accosted while working in his own backyard, his home ransacked, and then kidnapped and taken around town to various ATM machines where the thugs were using his bank card to get cash. And now you want to put a boarding house on a street already struggling to feel safe.

Why not use that money to reduce our neighborhood crime that coincidentally has risen over recent years with the imposition of the county’s subsidized housing policies and a police force too overwhelmed to keep up.

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