Councilman David Marks said in a statement Monday night that “more review” is needed for a proposed Royal Farms gas station at York Road and Bosley Avenue.
The gas station has been strongly opposed by area residents and environmentalists.
The area is not zoned for a gas station, so Royal Farms and developer Caves Valley Partners were pursuing the project through a Planned Unit Development (PUD) resolution. A PUD is basically a way of allowing a project that would otherwise not be allowed, as long as the county council determines “that the PUD will achieve substantially higher-quality development than a conventional development or provide a public benefit that would otherwise not be obtained.”
Marks said Monday evening that the PUD process places a burden on the developer to propose a high-quality project and address community concerns.
“That has not happened,” he said. “For that reason, I have introduced the Planned Unit Development legislation with the focus only on the retail area, which has been noncontroversial. The gasoline station will be reviewed if the Council determines a significant share of the community’s concerns has been addressed.”
So for now, only the retail portion of the proposal can move forward through the PUD process.
Don Mohler, chief of staff for County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, said that in the past, Marks had assured Caves Valley and Kamenetz that he was “fully on board” with the Royal Farms proposal.
“It is time for Councilman Marks to make sure that his actions and behavior live up to the words that come out of his mouth,” Mohler said in a statement.
Marks responded: “True, I have told the County Executive’s staff that I would introduce a resolution, which I did tonight. But I have never promised to give this developer blanket approval with little or no conditions. The Kamenetz administration has a history of doing this, as we have seen with their failure to support open space requirements. The County Council disagreed, and Towson will be better because we pushed back.”
Wendy Jacobs, who is a West Towson resident and member of the Green Towson Alliance, said that “this is not the end of the road.”
“Thanks to all who made your views known and devoted your evening to this effort for the sake of our Downtown. Also to the many who couldn’t make it but cheered from the sidelines,” she said. “Towson is lovable and worth fighting for.”