Concerns about traffic, lack of parking and public safety dominated a public meeting regarding the called-for redevelopment of the corridor where Joppa Road intersects with Loch Raven Boulevard in the Loch Raven area.
County Councilman David Marks and Jordan Levine, a property owner in the area, have kick-started a task force to create strategies on how best to redevelop the area, which Marks said has been “neglected” compared to other parts of the county, like Towson and White Marsh.
“This is an older part of our suburban development, and it shows,” Marks said during a community meeting hosted at Loch Raven High School to discuss the plan. About 50 people turned out to ask questions and share their concerns.
Levine, who owns a building off Loch Raven Boulevard where Ethan Allen and Total Wine & More are tenants, said the corridor’s location is great, but that “minor catalysts” are needed to spur redevelopment.
“Love it or hate it,” Levine said, “the Starbucks on the corner [which replaced the Bel-Loc Diner at the northeast corner of Joppa and Loch Raven] is a bit of a catalyst.”
Levine said he has seen the Starbucks crowded with customers on their computers and spending money in the community.
Marks and Levine highlighted the region’s accessibility to the Baltimore Beltway, natural resources like Loch Raven Reservoir, and nearby schools like Loch Raven High School, as major draws for the intersection.
But some in attendance said they had concerns that included a perceived uptick in crime in the area, with some saying they don’t even feel safe driving there. Data from the Baltimore County Police Department, Precinct 6, which includes the Loch Raven area, showed a 1.9% increase in total crime between the first half of 2018 and the first half of 2019. Between 2017 and 2018, the department reported a decrease in total crime of about 7%.