By Alison Knezevich, The Baltimore Sun
10:36 PM EDT, July 7, 2014
The Baltimore County Council gave the green light Monday for county agencies to review plans for a controversial redevelopment of a government center in Dundalk and construction of a student housing project in Towson.
With one member absent, the council voted unanimously to advance plans for Merritt Pavilion in Dundalk and 101 York in Towson, as well as a project in Reisterstown known as 25 Main Street.
The three projects are "planned unit developments," a county designation that gives developers flexibility in zoning regulations if their proposals offer a demonstrated benefit to the community.
In Dundalk, Vanguard Commercial Development wants to build a retail center at the site of the North Point Government Center, which is currently used for recreation, community activities and government offices. The 27-acre site was one of three county properties sold to developers last year.
The company says that in addition to the retail space, it will build a $2.2 million recreational and arts facility, construct a community amphitheater and improve existing ballfields. It also plans to renovate ball fields and sports courts at nearby Grange Elementary as part of the deal.
The York 101 student housing proposal — for a 2.7-acre site located on York Road — has drawn criticism because of the potential for more traffic and other disruption. DMS Development has proposed 611 beds, 495 parking spaces and about 10,000 square feet of commercial space. The company has said it will contribute $55,000 to improve nearby public properties in Southland Hills, Burkleigh Square and Towson Manor Village.
Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican whose district includes downtown Towson, said he believes additional student housing will help alleviate what he called an "oversaturation" of neighborhoods around Towson University with rental units occupied by students.
In Reisterstown, 21-25 Main LLC wants to improve an existing office and commercial center and has proposed a $10,000 contribution to the Reisterstown Main Street revitalization initiative.
Councilman Todd Huff, a Lutherville Republican, was absent from Monday's session because of a family member's illness, according to Council Chairwoman Cathy Bevins.
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