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David Marks says Royal Farms in Towson needs more review

Rendering of Royal Farms at York & Bosley

Rendering of Royal Farms at York & Bosley

Rendering of Royal Farms at York and Bosley, with two retail/restaurant buildings behind the gas station

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.”

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7 Comments on "David Marks says Royal Farms in Towson needs more review"

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Ellis Rios

I personally would like a really nice Royal Farms

Roger

EPA School Siting Criteria near large scale fuel facilities dispensing more than 3.6 million gallons of fuel per year discuss risks. Hazard analysis specific to this large scale fueling operation is found on page 57 for heavy traffic and page 59 under fuel facilities. Accidental releases and other risks to consider is discussed throughout this EPA document https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-06/documents/environmental_siting_criteria_considerations.pdf

Resident

Really?? This says more about how things work than anything: “‘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.'”

Councilman David Marks and any elected official is beholden to his or her constituents, not developers or the county executive, who by the way recently claimed he did not interfere with council decisions on zoning….

This community will be here long after the officials — who should be “fully on board” with taxpaying residents and voters — will move on and out.

Roger

Is everything a scheme with this administration? Perhaps Mr. Mohler recalls the Kamenetz campaign ads with mud running into a stream claiming Mr. Bartenfelder would weaken sediment control enforcement, muddy our streams and kill our Chesapeake Bay. Go look at the Towsontown pipe extension installed last week. No tree protection and no sediment controls. Look inside the pipe and see it isn’t even connected right. It should look like a gun barrel. It’s as crooked as a dogs hind leg. Future sinkhole! Mr. Joblin does the executives bidding – why no inspectors Mr. Kamenetz? Perhaps close examination is in order. It’s past time our county executive’s actions and behavior match the words that came out of his mouth when he was looking for voter support.

Hopeful resident

Thank you, David Marks! Here’s hoping a “substantially higher-quality development” that could actually “provide a public benefit” as per PUD parameters can be pulled together. One that would bring in more than a $26,000 pittance in annual tax revenue—when upwards of a half million yearly is possible. The rendering, within a triangle of uncluttered avenues, looks nothing like the reality of York Road.

And, seriously, can’t someone come up with a higher-quality development concept than a veritable truck stop? If we really want to resemble Bethesda or other hip downtowns we need to consider some archictectural and environmental élan, instead of such low-brow unleaded ideas.

Sam C

The fearmongerers already shot down a nice mixed-use development. Some nonsense about a couple dozen extra cars on the road per hour throughout the day will destroy the serenity of the rotting, tax-dollar drain eyesore.

Steve D

Towson’s development is at a crossroads. We can watch our town become another unidentifiable strip mall highway, or we can focus on sustainable downtown developments that push long term growth.

Do we want to be a modern city with a walkable, attractive downtown filled with brewpubs, restaurants, street fairs, and boutique shopping? Or do we let our city become yet another highway truck stop with chain restaurant parking lots and gas stations as far as the eye can see?

I know what I hope for. And it starts with resisting short sighted projects like this.

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