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Council approves Towson fire station property sale

Downstream Oil and Gas ActivitiesDavid Marks

The Baltimore County Council on Monday unanimously approved the $8.3 million sale of the Towson fire station and public works site at the corner of Bosley Avenue and York Road, despite vocal opposition from a state legislator and residents of the nearby West Towson community.

"The administration made it very clear the fire station was going to move, regardless of tonight's vote," said Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson. "I decided it was best to advance the discussion over the future uses at York Road and Bosley Avenue to the Planned Unit Development process that I can control as a councilman. No development was approved tonight."

The council was tasked with judging three county contracts for sale: the Towson fire station property, the North Point Government Center in Dundalk and the Randallstown Police Substation. The council approved all three Monday night.

A subsidiary of Caves Valley Partners bid on the Towson fire station and public works site for a Royal Farms store and gas station, plus retail space and a restaurant pad site.

Peggy King, president of the nearby Morningside Community Association, said she was disappointed that the contract was passed without discussion Monday, though she said she spoke to Marks earlier in the day. 

"I thought there were going to be some comments from the councilman put on the record," King, who was joined by several neighbors, said. "We expected to hear something from him and we didn't."

"We got the impression from Mr. Marks that his vote was going to be very difficult, but I didn't get that impression," Thomas Krause, who also lives on Morningside Drive, said.

King and others, including State Sen. Jim Brochin, who represents Towson, had also spoken out against the sale during a council work session last week.

Marks said he's had "continuous conversations" with community leaders, and asked 20 questions at the council work session Tuesday.

"I gave plenty of scrutiny to the process," he said.

King said the community looks forward to working with Marks on the planned unit development required for the Royal Farms project. A PUD is necessary because gas stations are not allowed in the town center zoning district where the firehouse is currently located.

Morningside resident Mary Beth Lovas said after the meeting that the PUD discussions will be a Towson-wide issue.

"It's not just a Morningside issue," Lovas said. "It's a Towson issue."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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