Baltimore County Council to consider redevelopment of historic Towson mansion

The Baltimore County Council will be asked Tuesday to allow the redevelopment of a historic mansion in Towson to go forward through the county approval process.

Developers have proposed turning the former Bosley Mansion, which for years was a home for the elderly, into 45 condominiums.

To make the project work, they are seeking allowances through the county’s planned-use development process. The process grants zoning flexibility in exchange for benefits to a community, but developers first must receive the endorsement of the County Council.

Without the PUD allowance, zoning on the property would normally allow 28 residential units.

Councilman David Marks, a Republican who represents Towson, said he will introduce the necessary resolution at Tuesday’s council meeting. The council is expected to vote on the resolution at a later date.

In a statement, Marks said the plan from developers Marty Azola and Delbert Adams of Bosley Estates LLC “is the most realistic plan for preserving the mansion and as much of the green space as possible.”

Marks, a Perry Hall Republican, said he’s concerned that if the Azola and Adams condominium proposal falls through, the mansion will end up “rotting away with an uncertain future.”

Marks’ support is key for the project’s success, as council members often respect the wishes of other council members for zoning and development decisions in their districts. A majority of council members must vote in favor of Marks’ resolution for the Bosley project to proceed in the planned-unit development process.

Some neighbors in the surrounding Southland Hills neighborhood opposed an earlier proposal by Caves Valley Partners to buy the property and turn it into offices that would be leased to the county government.

After that deal fell apart, Azola and Adams proposed the residential reuse of the building, which has garnered more — though not universal — community support.

The Southland Hills Improvement Association and the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations issued letters in support of allowing the project to move forward. In a letter to the council, Southland Hills President Jennifer Bolster wrote that the community understands the development will have more homes than would otherwise be allowed.

“However, we believe that the proposed high quality condominium project will deliver a significant community benefit in the form of enhanced property values, as well as preservation of the historic Bosley Mansion and green space,” she wrote.

Bryan Fischer, president of the Greater Towson organization, said his members support the developers’ plans to “adaptively reuse this important historic resource while maintaining its historic integrity … and residential setting.”

The Bosley Mansion was built more than 150 years ago by one of the early prominent families in Towson. For nearly 90 years, it housed the Presbyterian Home of Maryland, which closed in 2016.

Neighbors often enjoyed the Presbyterian Home’s broad front lawn while walking their dogs or taking strolls around the neighborhood. The lawn has been used for community Easter egg hunts and for children to line up in costumes for an annual Halloween parade.

If the County Council approves Marks’ resolution, the project would move into the planned-unit development process, which would involve a community input meeting and reviews by county agencies.

pwood@baltsun.com

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