July 2, 2015
From: Greater Towson Council of Community Associations
The 101 York Project and Open Space
There is much confusion about the current state of the 101 York student housing project. GTCCA would like to clarify the situation.
- The original 101 York Planned Unit Development (PUD) project is still going through the County development process and has not changed or been withdrawn. The GTCCA and American Legion had filed appeals challenging the PUD and county’s review process of the project in January. The developer is now appealing the $1.3 million Open Space Waiver fee imposed by an Administrative Law Judge with a Board of Appeals hearing scheduled for July 18.
- In parallel with the plan using the PUD process, the developer recently submitted a new plan using an alternate development process that increased the height of the building to 20 stories, increased the number of beds, and decreased the number of parking spaces.
The developer was not able to use this process until the County Council passed Resolution 37-15 in May of this year, introduced by Councilman Marks which eliminated height and setback restrictions that are key elements of this alternate process. There were strict requirements for using this process because there are no Community Input Meetings or Administrative Law Judge hearings — basically no opportunity for community concerns to be heard. The Resolution circumvented these requirements.
- Due to community objections to the new plan, Councilman Marks asked the developer on Monday to withdraw the second development plan. The original plan is still alive and has not been affected. This event was recently reported by the Sun and Towson Times with a misleading headline. “Developer agrees to withdraw 101 York project, for now.”
- A bill that will revise the open space fees paid by developers will be introduced in the County Council on Monday, July 6. We have no details and have not been asked for input or feedback.
- Downtown Towson is the only place in the county where developers are not required to pay Open Space Waiver fees (if they are unable to provide Open Space in their project). Towson is one of the most deficient areas in the county for Open and Recreational Space in the county. Our Rec Councils are spending $50,000 plus annually to rent private school fields.
- Resolution 37-15 should be repealed to restore the integrity of the alternate development plan that was an outgrowth of the Urban Design Principles and Walkable Towson Plan. The Walkable Towson Plan was developed with extensive input from the residential and business communities and County government.
- Open space fees should be revised to ensure that adequate funds are raised to obtain badly-needed new open space in Towson and improve existing recreational and open space. We feel that the fees in the Towson Core need to be substantial enough that needs would be adequately funded. That rate should be comparable or higher than the current DR-16 rate of $5.74 per square foot, otherwise the County taxpayers are being disproportionately burdened with the cost to provide and improve Towson’s Recreation and Open Space.