County Councilman David Marks introduced a resolution last week that would scrap a requirement that the redevelopers of historic Bosley Mansion widen surrounding roads as part of the project.
“The community clearly believes that the roads in this neighborhood should not be widened and that as much of the green lawn should be preserved as possible,” said Marks, who represents Towson on the council.
Since last spring Baltimore developers Marty Azola, of Azola Cos., and Delbert Adams, of Delbert Adams Construction Group, have been partnering under Bosley Estates LLC to develop the property at 400 Georgia Court into high-end condominiums, while preserving the 149-year-old historic mansion.
The resolution would pave the way for the Planned Unit Development project, which would build 33 high-end condominiums costing between $750,000 and $1.5 million, to move forward, Adams said.
It will be up for a vote at the County Council on Nov. 5, Marks said. The council often approves local resolutions like this as a courtesy to the area’s representative.
In a June Concept Plan Conference, the county’s Development Plans Review Bureau charged the developer with widening the narrow roads around the mansion, which do not have shoulders or curbs, as part of the project.
County agencies also demanded that the developer upgrade storm drainage in the area and retain an old stone wall that surrounds the property.
“It’d be very difficult to do that as part of our project,” Adams said. Expensive infrastructure improvements could “put a huge impact on the viability of the project,” he said.
The developer should not be responsible for infrastructure improvements, Adams said, because the project will not be increasing the use of roads and sewers. The land’s current owner, the Presbyterian Home of Maryland, closed its assisted-living facility in 2016. With 80 residents and dozens of staff, the property’s infrastructure requirements then were no different from the planned condominiums, Adams said.
Jennifer Bolster, president of the Southland Hills Improvement Association, said if Bosley Estates backs out it would be a blow to the community.
Since the Presbyterian Home closed, Bolster said, the property has fallen into disrepair and could remain that way if Bosley Estates does not proceed.
“If the project doesn’t go forward, we would have an eyesore in the middle of the neighborhood,” she said.
Most people in the community also want to preserve the narrow roads, Bolster said, adding that they are a “big part of the neighborhood’s charm.”
“There are a lot of different opinions, but I think this is the one thing that everyone agrees upon,” she said.
At a July 11 community association meeting, Southland Hills Improvement Association Vice President Kate Knott asked the crowd of more than 50 people: “Who here wants the streets widened?” Only one woman raised her hand.
Marks said he introduced the resolution based on minutes from that community input meeting.
The resolution also would allow the developer to remove an old stone wall, which Adams described as “rubble.”
That wall needs to be removed because of grade issues on the site, Adams said. It is also deteriorated, he said, and has become home to snakes and rodents.
Bolster said she supports dismantling the current wall, but would like to see a stone wall reconstructed in some form.
“The Bosley Estates developers have gone to great lengths to try to blend their development into the neighborhood,” Bolster said, adding later, “We said from the get-go, we want it to look like it’s always been here.”