A host of parks and other green space in Towson were re-zoned Tuesday evening in order to deter future development on the land when the Baltimore County Council unanimously approved all of Councilman David Masks’ zoning requests. The downtown area is still set to allow taller and denser development.
Areas that were downzoned include the Rodgers Forge Tot Lot, the land around Dumbarton Middle School, parks in West Towson and Towson Manor Village, and the huge swath of land in front of Baltimore County Public Schools’ headquarters on Charles Street, which is a popular sledding hill.
Much of the land within the Towson Triangle, bordered by Towsontown Boulevard, Bosley Avenue and York Road, was also either downzoned or kept at current levels. The American Legion had sought a zoning change to allow major development in the area, but Marks denied that request.
Marks also said he will not include the Triangle in the new Towson overlay district, which means it will not automatically be subject to higher-density development.
“The [Green Towson Alliance] agrees with this move wholeheartedly as inclusion in the overlay would allow unlimited heights, no setbacks and a much lower amount of open space than we are advocating,” said Beth Miller of the GTA.
Still up in the air is the project known as 101 York. The development was originally proposed at 6 stories, then it was changed to 13 stories and eventually to 20. The developer, DMS Development, applied for a planned unit development, or PUD, which would have allowed it to bypass the property’s current zoning for much shorter buildings.
Marks said he is in favor of the PUD for a 13-story building getting a review from the county, but neighborhood groups who say the project is too large have blocked the review. They and DMS are slated to go to the Court of Special Appeals over the matter.
While the PUD’s future is unclear, DMS also asked Marks to rezone the property to accommodate its taller structure. Marks denied that zoning request and said 101 York should be addressed through the PUD.
Some of the other changes approved Tuesday evening include:
“We have a lot of dense zoning on institutions that people may think will always be in existence, and we have dense zoning on undeveloped properties,” Councilman Marks commented. “These decisions will help protect communities from infill development if there are changes in the future.”