Benefits part of deal in rezoning for drugstore

It has been more than a year in the making, but the rezoning compromise hammered out over a proposed new CVS Pharmacy at Harford and Joppa roads will mean improvements to the intersection.

Once every four years, the county's Comprehensive Zoning Map Process opens opportunities to rezone properties. One petition came from J.C. Bar, a Pennsylvania developer, for a zoning change that would clear the way for a CVS at the southwest corner of Harford and Joppa.

The plan initially drew fire from the Carney Improvement Association, led by Meg O'Hare, which directed its concerns to County Councilman David Marks, whose 5th District includes the intersection and who, because of council courtesy protocols, had virtually final say over the rezoning.

Marks extracted conditions that had to be met before the bulldozers went to work. These conditions ended up persuading O'Hare and her fellow activists to go along with the proposal, which was approved last August.

Marks pointed out that the rezoning will substantially advance reconstruction of the intersection, which is routinely graded as a "failed" intersection by the state because of congestion.

He said the developer will contribute between $800,000 and $1 million by donating right-of-way, relocating utilities and grading the southwest corner of the intersection. With these improvements made, the state and county can provide $3.8 million to rebuilt the intersection.

Marks said the CVS will not go up before the rebuilding of the intersection, likely in 2015.

Meanwhile, a covenant agreement provides donating half the site, about two acres, to NeighborSpace of Baltimore County for a park.

"We are right now talking to NeighborSpace about the logistics of a transfer," the councilman said.

He pointed out that without the rezoning, the tract would have remained residentially zoned and the entire site could have been developed into houses.

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