7:30 AM EDT, July 23, 2012
I was surprised to read the recent op-ed praising the developers of the Solo Cup property for their plans with respect to the traffic gridlock along Reisterstown Road ("A boon for Owings Mills," July 19).
As anyone who has been following the Owings Mills development issues is aware, the developer and its attorney, former County Executive Jim T. Smith Jr., have consistently refused to let the public or members of County Council review the full traffic study that they have claim to have had completed. Instead, they have released only a brief summary of the study's conclusions, without any of the backup data or analyses.
Then, Councilwoman Vicki Almond, apparently acting on behalf of the developer and Mr. Smith, tried to sneak through an amendment for the Solo Cup project that would have exempted the entire property from any routine traffic studies. Fortunately, County Executive Kevin Kamenetz vetoed the bill.
Councilwoman Almond also went down to Annapolis with Mr. Smith during the 2012 legislative session to unsuccessfully lobby against an effort by Sen. Bobby Zirkin to have state officials conduct a comprehensive study of traffic along the Reisterstown Road corridor, according to published media reports.
Does this sound like the actions of a developer and a councilwoman who are committed to avoiding gridlock along the busy Reisterstown Road corridor?
Before members of the County Council are asked to approve zoning of a retail project that could require $50 million or more in road improvements paid for by taxpayers, shouldn't we slow down and wait for the comprehensive studies of Reisterstown Road?
The County Council should reject the zoning request, wait for the state and the developer to release full and complete studies of Reisterstown Road traffic, and then come back later and consider what to do with Solo Cup when all of the facts are known.
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