Some Baltimore County Council members are criticizing the Kamenetz administration’s decision to give a developer five more years to complete development plans for a prime property in Towson, with one councilman calling for an audit of the process.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s administration signed an agreement with Caves Valley Partners to extend the sales contract for an old county fire station site at the corner of York Road and Bosley Avenue.
Caves Valley struck the initial deal with the county in 2013 to buy the 4.3-acre property, considered by many to be a “gateway” for downtown Towson, for $8.3 million. The contract settlement period was due to expire at the end of 2018 if Caves Valley didn’t win approval for its proposal of a commercial center at the site.
County Administrative Officer Fred Homan and Caves Valley executive Arthur Adler signed the five-year extension in July without telling the council or the public, at the same time County Council members were wrestling with initial development plans that called for a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station.
That proposal ran into fierce community opposition, and over the summer Kamenetz directed Council Chairman Tom Quirk to broker a deal with Caves Valley for a new plan. Those talks are continuing.
The extension essentially gives Caves Valley five additional years to solidify a development plan and navigate the county’s review process. While the extension did not require council approval, Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents Towson, said he was disappointed that neither the council nor the public was notified.
“The County Council deserved to know what was being done,” he said.