It is time to bring closure to the controversy over the development of the 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 at the Towson Station Planned Unit Development. I do this for four main reasons.
Lack of Public Support. The legislation that created Planned Unit Developments was authored by then-County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz. This law emphasizes collaboration and input.
The gasoline station reflects neither of those goals.
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. In December 2016, the Baltimore County Council passed Resolution 113-16, which continued the review of the Towson Station project. The resolution placed specific conditions on development of the property. The language was very clear: the trees at the corner of York Road and Bosley Avenue should be integrated into any development, to the greatest extent possible.
The County Executive’s staff then bulldozed approximately 30 trees with no notice to my office or the public. 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 another two or three years. That is unacceptable, particularly with new projects like Towson Row expected to open in that time.
Long-Term Litigation. It is highly unlikely that this project will be approved before the end of the Kamenetz administration, as required by the contract of sale. Towson Station is a lower-quality, and more controversial, project than other Planned Unit Developments that have been proposed in Towson. It 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.