Georgia Chantiles-Ruby, who lives across the street from the mansion, told members of the Baltimore County Council that the renovations would result in an “out-of-character housing product” that wouldn’t fit with the historic homes in the neighborhood.
Others raised concerns that the project would bring an influx of traffic to narrow neighborhood streets, exacerbate parking problems and alter the views from residents’ homes.
Jim Tomney, who lives down the street, said the developers have been responsive to community concerns, and if the Bosley Estates plan falls through, the neighborhood could be left with a vacant building.
“I’m nostalgic, too. I’m so sorry the Presbyterian Home had to close … but we need to be realistic. This plan deserves to go forward,” he said.
That process grants developers flexibility in zoning requirements in exchange for building a project with benefits to the community. In the case of Bosley Estates, developers Marty Azola and Delbert Adams need permission to build more homes than the 28 units that would be allowed under the existing zoning.
Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents Towson, praised the project and urged his colleagues to support the resolution. Council members generally defer to the wishes of other council members when it comes to planning and zoning decisions in their districts — a practice known as councilmanic courtesy.
A few opponents of the project suggested that developers should be allowed to tear down the mansion in order to free them up to consider other types of projects. But Marks said that’s not an option, given the building’s historic significance not only to Southland Hills but to the greater Towson community.
The Bosley Mansion was built by one of the early prominent families in Towson, who donated land for the county courthouse and county jail.
“Demolishing that structure would be an absolute blow to historic preservation,” Marks said.