xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Zoning changes pave way for more public parking in Catonsville, kill community-opposed Royal Farms in Halethorpe

More parking lots are coming to the Frederick Road corridor.

After a year of reviewing zoning changes requested in Baltimore County through a four-year process, the County Council voted to adopt the package during a special session Tuesday night.

Advertisement

As reflected in the approved zoning map, County Councilman Tom Quirk, who represents Catonsville and Arbutus, cleared the way to build more parking lots off Frederick Road, a request largely opposed by speakers who said they did not want commercial development encroaching on their homes during a March hearing on 1st District rezoning requests.

The Oella Democrat also denied rezoning residential land for commercial use as requested by the developer of the controversial Promenade project, and killed the prospect of a Royal Farms gas station that the chain sought to build on Hammonds Ferry Road in Arbutus after the developer requested the residential zoning be changed to allow for small-scale commercial use.

Advertisement

As a solution to the long-lamented lack of public parking in Catonsville, as restaurants proliferate along its main business corridor, Don Mohler and his ad-hoc parking committee supported a request to change the zoning on almost 2 acres of land northwest of Ingleside Avenue and north of Melrose Avenue, and on 1 acre northeast of Melrose Avenue and east of Egges Lane off Frederick Road.

An investment firm sought during the quadrennial Comprehensive Zoning Map Process to change the zoning on land it did not own, drawing ire from landowners who said they had not been consulted on the request, and from others who said that changing the existing zoning on 10 residential properties there would erase a zoning overlay that generally serves as a boundary between residential and business districts.

Quirk retained that zoning overlay, but allowed about 14,810 square feet to be rezoned as “business local,” paving the way for small-scale commercial development on the land northwest of Ingleside Avenue and north of Melrose Avenue.

He blocked the “business local” rezoning request on land the investment firm does not own northeast of Melrose Avenue and East of Egges Lane.

“I tried to compromise,” Quirk said. “Frederick has to come to life, and one of the missing elements is parking.”

Quirk said he declined to rezone land requested by Catonsville developer Steve Whalen from the addresses 425 to 439 on Paradise Avenue and from 5208 to 5216 on Wilkens Avenue, land that Whalen wants to incorporate in his planned 1.3 million-square-foot Promenade development on 14.75 acres of land.

Since 2004, Whalen Properties has been planning a large, mixed-use development next to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County called “the Promenade.” That project included the use of state land, the acquisition of which is uncertain.

Whalen Properties had asked to rezone almost 5 acres to allow for major commercial development where the zoning currently only allows for residential building.

Quirk said if Whalen petitioned to have that land designated as a planned unit development, the public would have more chances to weigh in and the development would “be much more controlled,” given the requirements a developer must meet to submit a planned unit development application.

And on nixing another Royal Farms in Halethorpe, Quirk said that “was an easy decision” given the community backlash.

Royal Farms “tends to want to put a gas station on every single block if you let them,” Quirk said. “This was a bridge too far.”

Quirk also did not move forward with his request to reduce the zoning on land occupied by the Rolling Road Golf Club, which he had proposed in response to plans for the private golf course to relocate to state parkland. The golf club board chose not to pursue the move after Quirk filed the rezoning request.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement