Homeowner Has Questions For Kamenetz

Michelle Darling wants to know what happens to her property value as nearby gasoline-contaminated homes on Yakona Road are slated for demolition.

Michelle Darling's home at in the 1600 block of Yakona Road between Towson and Parkville is not contaminated with gasoline, as far as she knows, but then again, she's not sure.

The home is on the same street as 16 others that Hess will demolish as part of a confidential settlement with some of Darling's neighbors—something the county employee learned about from a Patch story. The oil company plans on turning the yards into open space and turning it over to a non-profit, possibly NeighborSpace of Baltimore County.

Darling house—which has been in the family since the 1970s—will remain standing.

Her grandmother, a gardener by trade, died of leukemia a few years after MDE reported that petroleum contamination was detected in the area. Everything in the yard in front of her grandmother's house died.

"Obviously, I have no way of knowing if they were connected," Darling said.

But the smell remains— a heavy chemical odor that seems to emanate from storm drains. After it rains, brown stains are sometimes left on the sidewalk and the street.

"It's a really horrible, sour odor," Darling said. "You'd walk past it and it turns your stomach. I walk my dog on the other side of the street just to avoid it."

For Darling and her husband, who were considering selling their home possibly next year, the worries remain.

"My biggest concerns are my current and long-term health and my property values," Darling said.

The Baynesville resident plans on attending a Tuesday morning community meeting with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz at Johnny Dee's Restaurant near her home. The county executive is not coming specifically to discuss the contamination in the neighborhood but Darling has other ideas.

"Who's looking out for the community?" said Darling.

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number9dream December 04, 2012 at 05:38 PM
My opinion? BAIL OUT! The property isn't worth decaying health, the money you think you'd get for it (you'd likely end up with a goose egg or worse), or the overall aggravation. You'd be dead or worse before you see the results of a class-action lawsuit. In the end, who's going to come out on top, Hess or the great unwashed masses?
Joe December 04, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Frank removed his snide comment to me which I replied to. I only make such comments in reply to the same.
CerahAnd December 04, 2012 at 08:18 PM
If she pressures Hess enough, they'll buy her out too. And probably at a higher price than she could get through a conventional home sale since she how has a negatively stigmatized property. If they're purchasing homes to demolish them, the effects had to be significant.
Needaname December 04, 2012 at 11:01 PM
This is just awful. My heart goes out to these people. There are several others affected by this leak.
Ben Fischler January 07, 2013 at 01:30 AM
To see what information the state is willing to give us go to http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Land/OilControl/RemediationSites/Pages/Programs/LandPrograms/Oil_Control/RemediationSites/index.aspx scroll down the page to "Baltimore County" and then scroll down the page further to "Towson Hess/Yakona" Click on "Site Fact Sheet" which will open as a pdf file I lived in one of these houses from 2005 to 2011. I am not happy.


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