Baltimore County Council OKs assistance to Stanley Black & Decker, Sinclair Broadcasting

The Baltimore County Council approved millions of dollars in incentives on Tuesday for expansion projects at Stanley Black & Decker and Sinclair Broadcasting.

Stanley Black & Decker will receive a $2 million conditional loan from the state and a $200,000 conditional loan from the county.

The money will fund the tool company's expansion into a new building in the Greenleigh at Crossroads development in Middle River. The company already has a large campus in Towson.

The loans will convert into grants that don’t have to be repaid if Stanley Black & Decker keeps at least 2,000 employees between the Towson and Middle River locations, which represents a 400-employee increase.

Sinclair Broadcasting will receive a $1.3 million conditional loan from the state and a $130,000 conditional loan from the county. The money is part of the incentive package announced last fall for the company to keep and expand its headquarters in Hunt Valley.

Sinclair must boost its employment numbers from 333 workers to 700 workers in order for the loan to be converted into a grant.

"This is a win-win for everyone," said Councilman Wade Kach, a Republican who represents Hunt Valley.

But some Democrats took pause before voting in favor of the Sinclair loans.

Sinclair is trying to buy Tribune Media, which would give the company control of 233 stations, making it the largest broadcasting company in the nation. That deal has drawn scrutiny to Sinclair’s conservative bent.

Council Chairman Julian Jones, a Democrat from Woodstock, said he was glad to see more jobs coming to the county even if he didn't often agree with the company.

"It's freedom of speech. It's America," Jones said.

The votes for both the Stanley Black & Decker and Sinclair loan packages were 6-0. Councilman Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat, was absent.

The council also gave approval for the redevelopment of a historic mansion in Towson to move forward in the county review process.

Developers Marty Azola and Delbert Adams are proposing to turn the former Presbyterian Home of Maryland in the Southland Hills neighborhood into 47 condominiums to be called Bosley Estates. The center of the complex is the Bosley Mansion, built more than 150 years ago by one of the early founding families of Towson.

The project has drawn significant support, including votes from the neighborhood association and the Greater Towson Council of Civic Associations, though a few neighbors expressed concerns about the project at a public hearing last week. Supporters of the Bosley project wore matching green T-shirts reading "Save the Bosley Mansion" to Tuesday night's council meeting and applauded when the 6-0 vote was taken.

The unanimous vote by the council allows the developers to move into the county's planned-unit development process, which grants zoning flexibility in exchange for other benefits to the community. The developers need approval to build 47 units instead of the 28 that would be allowed under the existing zoning.

Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents Towson, said the redevelopment into condominiums represents “the most realistic plan” for preserving the mansion and its broad lawn that has long served as an unofficial neighborhood park.

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