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Towson residents speak out against planned Royal Farms

This rendering shows a proposed development at the intersection of York Road and Bosley Avenue, in Towson.
This rendering shows a proposed development at the intersection of York Road and Bosley Avenue, in Towson. (Submitted / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Opponents of a planned gas station in Towson filled the Baltimore County Council chambers on Tuesday to speak out against the project, saying it won't bring any benefits to the community.

Residents of the neighborhoods near the planned Towson Gateway – proposed by developer Caves Valley Partners for the corner of York Road and Bosley Avenue – said it will worsen traffic problems, bring environmental risks, and attract crime.

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They also complained that county officials have not listened to their concerns.

The project is planned for a piece of property that was long used for a county fire station. The county is selling the land to the developer.

"It's disgusting and a parodied stereotype of the worst of politics," said Towson resident Mark Lee.

People at the meeting waved signs, including ones that said "No Royal Farms Gas Station at Towson Gateway." They echoed concerns raised Monday night at a separate meeting hosted by state lawmakers and the Towson Green Alliance.

Council members are scheduled to vote Dec. 19 on a resolution that will allow the Towson Gateway to move forward as a planned-unit development. Such a development gives developers flexibility in the planning process in exchange for a community benefit.

The property isn't now zoned for a gas station.

Two leaders of the Towson Chamber of Commerce spoke in favor of the project, including chamber President Chuck Connolly. He said Towson Gateway would create an eye-pleasing entrance into the business community.

Representatives of Caves Valley did not testify at the meeting.

Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson and sponsored the resolution that is up for a vote, said Caves Valley has substantially decreased the number of proposed gas pumps – from 20 to 12. He said he still has concerns about environmental and aesthetic aspects of the plan.

"I will continue to look for opportunities to bridge the gap between the community and the developers," he said after the meeting.

Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, said that if the legislation is approved next week, it's "only the beginning of the review process."

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