Meeting to air Harbor Point questions

A public meeting tonight (Thursday) will give city residents a chance to ask questions about environmental safeguards for developing Harbor Point, a former factory site in Fells Point where toxic chromium remains entombed underground.

The meeting, arranged by Councilman James B. Kraft, is to be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Morgan Stanley building at 1300 Thames St.

The session, postponed from last month because of the federal government shutdown, will cover plans by Beatty Development Group to build a 22-story tower on the site of the former Allied chromium processing plant. State and federal officials also will review the decision in the 1990s to cap the site rather than remove soil and ground water there containing hexavalent chromium, a known carcinogen.  The Baltimore Sun reported last month that chromium has been found in ground water beyond the Harbor Point site, including beneath the Living Classrooms Foundation campus on Caroline Street.

Some Fells Point residents have expressed concerns that construction at Harbor Point could endanger their health. The developer has said precautions would be taken, but state and federal regulators have ordered changes be made to Beatty's plan to clarify and detail those safeguards.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland Department of the Environment also ordered the developer to re-test the air around Harbor Point and in other nearby neighborhoods after finding fault with a previous round of air sampling done by a consultant for Beatty. The earlier air tests found unusually high levels of hexavalent chromium, but regulators said errors in the sampling and analysis may have resulted in artificially high readings.


Beatty had hoped to break ground on the project in mid-October, but the government shutdown and now changes ordered by regulators have delayed the project's timetable.