A tall chain link fence and bright yellow signs showing "Demolition in Progress" scrawled in black marker signal the start of a transformation at 910 Frederick Road.
The property at that address — formerly a Baltimore County Department of Social Services office — will be razed to make way for a new, 30,000-square-foot medical office building to be owned and operated by Orthopedic Associates of Central Maryland.
After a Feb. 13 design review panel approved the plans with a few minor suggestions for improvements, Solstice Partners real estate company worked with Orthopedic Associates — currently operating on Benson Avenue in Arbutus — to begin the lengthy process to obtain necessary permits for construction.
Having been given the go-ahead to demolish, the company is simply waiting on approval of its development plan in order to build.
"They can get a razing permit," said Colleen Kelly, development manager at the Baltimore County Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections. "A razing permit is a permit that would allow them to take down any (existing) building or whatever. They could do that without having their development plan approved."
The first round of comments for that approval process were submitted July 12 and included the request for additional planning for bike racks at the new facility. After that recommendation is addressed, the final approval should be given within six weeks.
"There are specific requirements for a development plan approval," said Lynn Lanham, division chief of development review for the county's Department of Planning. "There are other agencies that are not involved in that (design review) process that would still be involved in the review of a development plan."
Solstice was awarded an exemption from having to hold a community input meeting or a public hearing in Catonsville, usually standard requirements for new developments.
"Normally, any residential development project of four or more lots, that goes through a process of submitting a concept plan, having a community input meeting and having a public hearing," Kelly said. "But the county code provides for exemptions on commercial (properties)."
The plans are currently working their way through a variety of government agencies including the zoning department, real estate compliance, the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Highway Administration and more, Lanham said.
Representatives from Orthopedic Associates of Central Maryland and Solstice Partners declined to comment on the current state of the project.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun