Baltimore County nixes Loch Raven school property as salt dome site

After community outcry, Balto. Co. abandons salt dome plans for Loch Raven

After Loch Raven Village residents mobilized a campaign opposing plans to put a road salt storage dome at a neighborhood school, Baltimore County officials have backed away from the proposal.

Dozens of Loch Raven Village residents dressed in red shirts cheered Monday night when Baltimore County Council Chairwoman Cathy Bevins announced that the salt dome would not be relocated to the Loch Raven Technical Academy. Bevins walked into Monday night's council meeting waving a red "Halt the Salt" sign.

"It's the most ridiculous place ever to put a salt dome," said Bevins, a Middle River Democrat who represents the neighborhood. "It just doesn't make sense."

The county has been looking for a new location for the salt dome since agreeing in 2013 to sell a county-owned property in Towson that houses a fire station and highway maintenance yard to a developer. The property at the corner of Bosley Avenue and York Road is slated to be redeveloped as a Royal Farms gas station and retail shopping center by developer Caves Valley Partners.

One of the potential sites identified for the salt dome was the Loch Raven Technical Academy, about two miles away.

Jason Garber, president of the Associates of Loch Raven Village community association, had called the site "wholly inappropriate" for the salt storage facility.

Garber and his neighbors said putting the salt dome at an existing maintenance area at the school would mean that during winter storms, noisy dump trucks would line up along Glen Keith Boulevard directly across from homes.

Another option would be to put the salt dome and maintenance area on the site of sports fields on the other side of the school property, and build a sports field at the current maintenance site. But doing that would require the demolition of a barn at the school that's a remnant of the old Eudowood Sanitarium. And, residents feared the community would lose its spot for launching Independence Day fireworks.

Bevins said she pressed the county not to put the salt dome in Loch Raven.

Last week, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told The Baltimore Sun the county was looking for other locations, but wouldn't commit to removing Loch Raven Technical Academy as an option, though he noted, "That's not a site we'd prefer."

But by Monday afternoon, though, the county officially took Loch Raven Academy off the table.

The county has not yet identified another location for the salt dome.

pwood@baltsun.com

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