The developers who wanted to build a 20-story complex called 101 York in the Towson Triangle received a major setback today. Councilman David Marks said he will not approve DMS Development‘s re-zoning request that would have allowed the area to go from 4-story buildings to taller buildings.
“The zoning in the Towson Triangle will remain the same except for the four acres of public open space, which will be preserved as open space through Neighborhood Commons zoning,” Marks said, noting that the area now has more green space preserved.
Wendy Crites, executive director at DMS, said she could not comment on the zoning change. But when asked if the 101 York project was dead, she said, “No, not at all.”
DMS says the development “will provide 248-apartments ranging from studios to 4-bedroom/4-bath units to meet the needs of 610 students. Four levels of parking offer the tenants 495-parking spaces plus the ability to park in a local garage managed by the Revenue Authority that is within 1,000-feet +/- of walking distance. Additionally, the development has 9,300-sf+/- of street level retail with designated at-grade site parking.”
The Green Towson Alliance and numerous neighborhood groups fought the development, saying it was not the right fit for the area, and decrying the open space that would be lost if various zoning changes in the triangle allowed for more development.
“The GTA is thankful that David Marks’ [Comprehensive Zoning Map Process] zoning decisions protect the Triangle bounded by York Road, Towsontown Boulevard and Bosley Roads from massive development,” the Green Towson Alliance said in a statement.
“Our vision for this land is to create a transition zone between the denser development of downtown to the University and residential neighborhoods. It is our hope that the CZMP process provides a springboard for redevelopment that includes a large park, preservation of the Towson Run Stream and pedestrian and bicycle connections through the site while responsibly addressing long overdue facilities adequacies,” the GTA said.
Beth Miller of the GTA added: “We now look to David Marks to finalize the protection of the Triangle by excluding it from the Downtown Towson District Overlay map. The Overlay allows unlimited heights and much less open-space protection in the Triangle than the Green Towson Alliance advocates and is not appropriate for this transitional zone.”
Towson Manor Village president, Joe La Bella, said his community was pleased with the decision.
“We hope [Marks] can help facilitate a reasonable resolution to the conflicts surrounding the 101 York development,” he said. “I thank him for heeding our request to oppose upzoning within the Towson Triangle.”
But the Greater Towson Committee, a pro-development group, said 101 York would simply be taking the place of old, dilapidated buildings.
It’s unreasonable to expect someone who’s spent millions of dollars to put in a park.
“The GTC is all for open space, we support the Radebaugh purchase … but we support smart open space,” said Katie Chasney Pinheiro, GTC’s executive director. “It would be phenomenal to have a Central Park-type park in the Towson Triangle, but that’s not reasonable. … It’s unreasonable to expect someone who’s spent millions of dollars to put in a park.”
She added that the 101 York project would “widen sidewalks, and make an area that’s an eyesore attractive again.”
Along with requesting a zoning change that would allow the development, DMS also applied for a planned unit development, or PUD. PUDs allow for development that would otherwise not be allowed, in effect bypassing zoning regulations. Neighborhood groups (which oppose the PUD) and DMS had been in mediation over the PUD. The case could move to the Court of Special Appeals.
Hopefully we will be able to reach some resolution to the multitude of issues at 101 York with DMS either through the mediation process or if we proceed to the Court of Special Appeals.
Earlier this month, Marks denied the American Legion’s request to upzone its property and other land around it. The 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 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.
This story will be updated.