Balto. Co. vote on increasing developer fees delayed again

The Baltimore County Council has again delayed a decision whether to increase the fees that developers pay when they don't include sufficient open space in their projects.

At the request of County Councilman David Marks, the council on Monday postponed a vote on a bill that would increase the fees for developers in Towson. Marks said he hopes to hold the vote at the next meeting in two weeks.


For many projects in downtown Towson, the fees are lower than they would be elsewhere in the county, and Marks is sponsoring a proposal to raise them. If approved, the county would collect about $2.1 million in open space waiver fees from half a dozen developments in the works in Towson, instead of $145,000 under the current rules.

The county would have to use the money for specific projects in Towson under Marks' proposal.

Marks said he's been able to get one of the major Towson developers, Caves Valley Partners, to start negotiating with community leaders about voluntary contributions to open space projects in the community.

Caves Valley Partners recently broke ground on the 1-million-square-foot Towson Row mixed use development near the intersection of York Road and Towsontown Boulevard.

"Everything is moving in a very good direction," said Marks, a Perry Hall Republican who represents Towson.

If a deal can be worked out between Caves Valley and the neighbors, Marks indicated he'd revise his bill.

Arthur Adler, a partner with Caves Valley, declined to comment on Monday night.

Council members have been working on open space issues — especially the waiver fees — for months, but they have not made any significant changes. They've been pressured by Towson residents who have complained that the area lacks parks and sports fields, and who worry that a development boom will bring more people without adding more open space.

The council did unanimously approve a companion bill on Monday from Councilman Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat, which asks the Planning Board to develop a list of priorities for spending money from open space waiver fees.