Baltimore County Council OKs step toward possible TIF at Tradepoint Atlantic; backs 'guntry club' zoning

The Baltimore County Council unanimously approved a resolution Monday representing a first step toward public financing for infrastructure at the Tradepoint Atlantic development in Sparrows Point.

The resolution gives the project a designation that opens a five-year window for a tax-increment financing deal to be struck.

Tax-increment financing — often called a TIF — is an arrangement in which the county would help finance the up-front costs of infrastructure such as roads and sewer lines. The developer pays the money back through increased property taxes once the development is built.

Tradepoint Atlantic is redeveloping a former steel mill into an industrial campus with shipping, logistics and manufacturing uses. A report commissioned by the company estimated the project might need up to $200 million worth of infrastructure upgrades and suggested some of that could be financed through a TIF.

Councilman Todd Crandell, a Dundalk Republican, said Tradepoint Atlantic is an “extraordinary opportunity” and complex projects like it may deserve “extraordinary measures."

He sad the resolution is just a first step toward a possible TIF deal, and noted the county isn’t required to offer one.

“We are a long way from a TIF,” Crandell said.

Council members also unanimously passed a zoning bill that will enable the Guntry Club of Maryland, an indoor shooting range and training center, to open in an Owings Mills office building. The Guntry Club is a venture of a current county police office and a retired county police officer.

Councilman Julian Jones, a Woodstock Democrat who sponsored the bill, said he thinks the Guntry Club will be a good addition to Owings Mills.

Jones said he received emails from some people who didn’t like guns and others who felt that there wasn’t enough public discussion of the gun range. Jones said that the bill was introduced, withdrawn and reintroduced, so there was plenty of opportunity for residents to know about the bill.

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