Councilman David Marks said today he will change the zoning of some land inside the Towson Triangle — which is bordered by York Road, Bosley Avenue and Towsontown Boulevard — to preserve its green space. Other portions of the Triangle will still be open for development, including the nearly three acres that could house the 101 York development.
The American Legion, which is inside the Triangle, had asked the county to re-zone nine acres in the Triangle (a portion of which the Legion owns) to BM-CT, which allows for high-rises and other high-density development.
Marks said today that instead, he will rezone about four of those acres to “Neighborhood Commons” status, which will prevent development. The remaining land in that request, about 4.5 acres, will keep its “Business Major” status. Business Major allows for buildings that are about four stories high.
Marks also said he is recommending “additional protections for Towson Green, Towson Manor Village, and Burkleigh Square by downzoning the east side of York Road across from the Triangle that is part of Zoning Issue 5-034. Presently zoned [Business Major], the new zoning would be Business Local (BL); should the area redevelop, it will do so at a less intense level.”
The proposed 101 York development by the company DMS, which would bring buildings as tall as 20 stories to accommodate student housing and other commercial development, is currently in mediation and has been temporarily withdrawn from consideration. Marks said he will not announce his zoning recommendation for that nearly three-acre parcel until the mediation has concluded, which he said should happen by the end of this month.
“This is a good start, but without Councilman Marks’s rejection of the proposed upzoning to BM-CT for the 101 York [development], I cannot say my community will be satisfied,” said Joe La Bella, president of the Towson Manor Village Community Association.
“101 York Road is an incredible and sensitive parcel, considering its proximity to a residential communities and a failing intersection, and given my and surrounding communities’ consistent opposition to the type of development that DMS developers has currently proposed … granting DMS their [zoning] request would be in direct opposition to his constituents,” La Bella said. “We reserve our praise until Councilman Marks does the right thing for his voters and rejects the [zoning] issue regarding upzoning the 101 York Road property.”
Marks’ announcement drew praise from the Green Towson Alliance.
“David Marks’ designation of Neighborhood Commons zoning on the four acres of county property in the Triangle is an effective way to provide a springboard for the green space that we sorely need at the south end of downtown,” said Wendy Jacobs, speaking for the GTA. “Well-done parks and other meaningful open space in the downtown will be a magnet for the kind of foot and bicycle traffic that will make all the long term stakeholders successful, most especially the neighboring communities. And it will make us happier and healthier too, as many studies show.”
A person who answered the phone at the American Legion declined to comment.
“I appreciate the input of many stakeholders as we considered the future of this area,” Marks said.