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Baltimore County says Caves Valley set to demolish buildings on controversial Towson 'gateway' property

Protesters stand at the intersection of York and Bosley Avenue in Towson in April 2017 to protest the county's removal of trees using county money. The property is being purchased by developer Caves Valley Partners.
Protesters stand at the intersection of York and Bosley Avenue in Towson in April 2017 to protest the county's removal of trees using county money. The property is being purchased by developer Caves Valley Partners. (Rachael Pacella / Baltimore Sun Media Group File)

Buildings on the site of the old Towson fire station — a long-debated parcel on York Road at Bosley Avenue known by some as the “gateway” to Towson — are slated for demolition as Baltimore County prepares to transfer the property to developer Caves Valley Partners.

“As empty buildings are a potential liability, Baltimore County has requested that [Caves Valley Partners] demolish the buildings as soon as possible,” county officials said in a press release on Tuesday.

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The company reached a $6.9 million deal to purchase the 5.8-acre property from the county in March.

A divided Baltimore County Council voted Monday to sell a controversial county-owned property to a private developer at a steeply discounted price.

Caves Valley originally planned to build a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station on the tract as part of a project called Towson Gateway — later renamed Towson Station. They revised those plans after community opposition related to traffic, compatibility and other issues, and are now planning retail uses without a gas station.

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The deal is scheduled to go to settlement by June 30, according to the release.

The property was the scene of protests last year when dozens of trees were cut down by the county in an episode some opponents dubbed “Tree-Gate.”

Wendy Jacobs, a co-founder of the environmental advocacy group Green Towson Alliance, said locals have been noting with concern signs of construction activity around the property.

“We’ve seen a number of citizens inquiring if the county was continuing to spend money when they didn’t need to,” she said.

County spokeswoman Fronda Cohen said the demolition will be paid for entirely by Caves Valley, and is scheduled to start in the next few days.

Advocacy group "Save Towson's Gateway" is planning a rally to mark the one-year anniversary of the county's removal of 30 trees at the site of a proposed Royal Farms on York Road.

The fire department relocated to a new facility in 2016. Cohen said that until recently, county public works employees had a shop on the site and could keep an eye on the vacant fire station. Once the shop close, the county requested that the buildings be removed, she said.

“We felt because of liability and safety issues, we wanted to have those buildings demolished as quickly as possible,” Cohen said.

Caves Valley attorney Christopher Mudd said the company had no comment beyond the information in the county release.

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