One way or another, the abandoned Crown gas station on York Road that has been the bane of Towson residents and businesses for years will be gone by March 15, county officials said.
County Councilman Vincent J. Gardina had been investigating whether the county could force the station's demolition as a dilapidated structure when it partially collapsed under the weight of the snow this week.
"Now it's not even a question," Gardina said. "Now it has to, for safety reasons as well as code violations, be removed."
Rick Wisnom, head of code enforcement, said he has issued a notice to the New York estate trust that owns the property ordering that the building at York Road and Burke Avenue be removed on or before March 15.
"If they don't do it, the county is going to do it," Wisnom said.
Gardina convened a committee last week to look at ways to revitalize downtown Towson, and developers and residents pointed to the Crown station and an abandoned Shell station on the Towson traffic circle as turnoffs for businesses considering locating there.
Robert E. Latshaw Jr., a commercial real estate agent and board member of the Towson Development Corp., said he was pleased that the county is moving forward to demolish the Crown station.
"Hopefully, we can accomplish that and at least have an open space there as a southern gateway to the central business district of Towson," he said. "That'll be a big help. Then we'll proceed to try to acquire that property, for either Towson University or some very worthwhile purpose."