It is time to bring closure to the controversy over the development of the Royal Farms gasoline station at York Road and Bosley Avenue.
I will introduce at the next County Council meeting a resolution that ends any further review of the gasoline station. I do this for four main reasons.
Lack of Public Support. The original Planned Unit Development legislation, sponsored by then-County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz, emphasizes public input and collaboration. An overwhelming number of residents do not want this project to be built. How can its advocates claim with any credibility that this project meets a minimum of community support?
Violation of Council Resolution 113-16. Earlier this spring, the executive branch of government removed approximately 30 mature trees, with no public notice and in violation of clear direction from the County Council. The removal of the trees eliminated a major hurdle for the developer, whose attorney later said that even more trees will be destroyed should the project be approved.
Delayed Improvements to Bosley Avenue. The driving conditions on Bosley Avenue are a nightmare, yet when I asked the Deputy County Administrative Officer about plans to resurface the corridor, his response was that improvements would occur after Towson Station was finished. Given the likelihood of appeals, this means that Bosley Avenue will continue to deteriorate for at least two or three years.
Our transportation network is key to redevelopment in Downtown Towson. The continued collapse of Bosley Avenue will be a drag on all future growth—as well as the quality of life of established businesses and neighborhoods.
Long-Term Litigation. The contract of sale for this property requires approval of the Planned Unit Development by next year. That is highly unlikely. Towson Station is a lower-quality, and more controversial, project than other Planned Unit Developments that have been proposed in Towson. This project will be fought long and hard. Neighborhood associations should not have to exhaust tens of thousands of dollars opposing this project, and Baltimore County should not have to deal with the uncertainty of waiting years to receive profits from the sale of this land.
The County Executive was right in 2013 when he argued that the county property at York Road and Bosley Avenue was not being utilized for its highest and best use. But he was also right when, as a Councilman, he proposed the Planned Unit Development law that encourages high-quality developments with broad public support.
It is time to turn the page on the Royal Farms gasoline station.
Baltimore County Councilman, Fifth District
400 Washington Avenue
Towson, MD 21204
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