Fee reduction proposed to revive Towson project
The old Victorian houses and the brick duplexes are gone. The land has been cleared and plowed, and looks like a field after the harvest.
But Baltimore County Councilman Vincent J. Gardina says the development planned for the Towson Manor Village neighborhood near Towson University might stall if the county doesn't offer to reduce the fees for not meeting its open-space requirements.
Gardina is looking to help revive the project, planned by the Bozzuto Group, a Greenbelt-based developer, which consists of 160 condominiums, townhouses and single-family houses, "The economics of the project won't work without this," Gardina, a Towson-Perry Hall Democrat, told other council members at yesterday's work session.
Under the proposed measure, Bozzuto would pay about $150,000 for waivers to open-space requirements, rather than about $1.5 million, Gardina said.
The development, between Willow and Burke avenues near York Road, has been approved by community groups in nearby neighborhoods, and the council has accepted the project as a planned-unit development, which exempts a project from certain zoning rules if it is deemed to benefit the community.
Tom Bozzuto, chief executive officer of the Bozzuto Group, said the downturn in the housing market and fees for open-space waivers have stalled the $100 million project. He said the legislation the council is considering is necessary to enable construction to start in the next 12 to 15 months.
"It depends so much on the economy and, of course, passage of this legislation," Bozzuto said.
So that the fee reduction would apply only to the 9-acre development, Gardina introduced a resolution to extend Towson's Commercial Revitalization District to include the project.
Ed Kilcullen, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations and former president of the Towson Manor Village Association, said an amendment to exclude the rest of the neighborhood from the commercial district is "critical." Otherwise, he said, investors could seek zoning changes to allow businesses in the area.
Gardina said the legislation will be revised to exclude the rest of the neighborhood from the district before it is voted on at the council's meeting Monday.
Former YMCA to be renovated
The indoor pool, roof, and interior will be renovated in the former YMCA building at 10 Dunmanway that is to become the Dundalk Community Center.
County Executive James T. Smith Jr. and Councilman John Olszewski Sr., a Dundalk Democrat, launched the $10.5 million renovation project yesterday. They said the windows and the electrical and plumbing systems will be replaced, a new elevator will be installed and new stairs will be built.
Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski has earmarked $400,000 in federal funding to add a computer lab to the planned 21,000-square- foot community center, officials said.
The renovation is expected to be completed by the summer of next year.
Meeting on planned development
A community input meeting on the proposed Plinlimmon Farms development has been rescheduled for tonight.
The hearing on the proposal to build 330 townhouses, 430 condominiums and 24,000 square feet of stores or offices was postponed last month because of inclement weather.
The project is planned for 104 acres off Lyons Mills Road near Lyonswood Drive in Owings Mills. The County Council has approved it as a planned-unit development.
The community meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at New Town High School, 4931 New Town Blvd. in Owings Mills.
Improvement group to meet tonight
Tomorrow's Towson Inc., a nonprofit formed in 2006 to bring in an Urban Design Assistance Team to look at ways of improving the area, will hold its annual meeting at 7 p.m. today.
The meeting will include updates on transportation and pedestrian improvements, signs and greenways. It will be held at the Sheppard Pratt Conference Center, 6501 N. Charles St.
Information: www.tomor rowstowson.org.