Traffic from Y expansion, senior living facility raises concerns

Traffic was the center of discussion during a community meeting about the proposed expansion of the Catonsville Family Center Y and the addition of a 140-apartment senior living complex on the Y's South Rolling Road campus.

About two dozen people attended Wednesday's meeting at the Arbutus Library to discuss the proposed planned unit development (PUD) between an access road to Interstate-95 and the campuses of Catonsville High School and the Community College of Baltimore County Catonsville.

If approved, the PUD would add 15,000 square feet to the Y's building as well as a Brightview Senior Living facility that would have 75 independent-living and 65 assisted-living residences on its campus.

A planned unit development allows for construction on land not zoned for it, if it provides a community benefit.

Community benefits include environmental or land-use benefits, a capital improvement to a nearby county facility or volunteer fire department, new economic development opportunities or work-force housing.

Those at the meeting voiced concerns that the increase in resident at the Brightview facility, added to the presumed increase in attendance at the Y as a result of its expansion would likely create traffic problems.

Andrew Teeters, senior development director of Brightview, said a traffic study concluded that improvements to South Rolling Road from Wilkens Avenue to just beyond the site's new entrance would alleviate them.

Plans for the development would reduce traffic congestion by adding a left-turn lane into the facility for cars traveling north on South Rolling Road and an acceleration lane for cars exiting the Y to go south, Teeters said.

Motorists traveling southbound on South Rolling Road will have a deceleration lane to turn onto the campus, Teeters said.

Both the northbound and southbound traffic will have a through-lane, Teeters said.

The plan also included a bicycle lane that would run along the western side of South Rolling Road, on the side of the Y's campus, Teeters said.

Councilman Tom Quirk, who represents the 1st District, which includes Catonsville, introduced the PUD for this project in February and the Baltimore County Council passed it unanimously.

Assuming the PUD is approved, construction of the Brightview Catonsville West residence and Phase II of the Y's renovation will begin simultaneously as early as the first half of 2013, said Gene Oaksmith, vice president of strategic development for Y of Central Maryland.

The Y renovation would take between 10 and 12 months and the construction of the senior living facility would take up to 14 months, Oaksmith said.

Phase III of the Y's renovation, which would increase the size of the facility by 7,400 square feet to a total of 33,500 square feet, will begin if the Y can raise the necessary funds.

Phase I improvements were completed in April and added a 4,300-square-foot expansion of the Y's fitness floor, an improved play area for children, renovations to the pool and an expansion of the locker rooms.

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