City-owned property in Towson could be on market soon

City-owned property in Towson could be go on market soon

A property on East Burke Avenue, in Towson, which is owned by Baltimore City might be for sale soon.

The city's comptroller has requested a bill, which was introduced Feb. 27, to authorize the Baltimore City Council and mayor to sell a 3/4-acre property at 219 East Burke Avenue, near Aigburth Manor, according to online city council records.

The legislation has been referred to Baltimore's solicitor, Board of Estimates, and departments of finance, planning and real estate, according to online records.

Once those agencies have reviewed the proposed sale, the bill will return to the council for a vote to authorize the sale of the land, said Steward Beckham, assistant director for public affairs in the city comptroller's office. The property was surplus, according to city officials.

"We no longer have a public use for it in the city," Beckham said.

In the past, the property has served as a maintenance depot for the city's public works department, which maintains water service in most of the county. Between 2005 and 2012, the space was leased to a water distribution contractor.

The property on Burke has been vacant for several years, according to Baltimore Department of Public Works spokesman Kurt Kocher.

Kocher did not know how long the city had owned the property.

The land is zoned DR-1, meaning a maximum of one housing unit per acre can be built on the parcel.

Prior to 2012 the property was zoned for 16 units per acre, a classification that would have allowed an apartment complex to be built on the property, according to Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson. But Marks said he changed the zoning on the parcel during the county's 2012 comprehensive zoning rocess specifically to avoid that outcome.

"The intent behind down zoning it was to not have high density at that location," Marks said. "I think we have enough student rentals and enough apartments in that stretch of eastern Towson."

Paul Hartman, vice president of the neighboring Aigburth Manor Association, said he would be happy to see the property repurposed and reused, but only if the new use isn't a a burden on the community.

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