Anyone following news of the proposed Royal Farms PUD on York Road could be forgiven for feeling dubious at the mention of another PUD application nearby.
But over in the Southland Hills area of Towson, a PUD was recently submitted for the Bosley Mansion that is being met with optimism by the community.
A PUD (Planned Unit Development) is a request for permission to build a project that otherwise would not be allowed by current zoning. In order for a PUD to gain approval, the County Council “must determine that the PUD will achieve substantially higher-quality development than a conventional development or provide a public benefit that would otherwise not be obtained,” according to the county.
The would-be buyers of the Bosley Mansion, which until recently was an assisted-living facility called Presbyterian Home of Maryland that had operated since 1929, are Martin P. Azola, a developer known for adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and Delbert L. Adams, head of the high-end construction firm Delbert Adams Construction Group.
Their PUD application says they plan to build 45 condominium units “intended for affluent active adult buyers who are seeking high end, single floor living with concierge-based series and an array of on-site amenities.”
The 4.5-acre site is currently zoned for approximately 20 residential homes.
The public benefit, the PUD says, is that the developers will keep the current green space, which has been a high priority for the surrounding neighborhood. And the green space would be protected by a covenant between the developers and the community.
“Working with Marty Azola and Delbert Adams has been a very positive experience for the Southland Hills Board,” said president Jennifer Bolster. “Their plan shows that they listened to our concerns about open space and blending the development into the neighborhood.”
“When developers work with a community,” she added, “good things can happen.”
Councilman David Marks, who represents the area and who is the only council member who could approve moving the PUD plan forward, said he expects the plan will be green lighted.
“Over the summer, I attended several meetings between the developers and Southland Hills neighbors about this proposal. I am very encouraged by this project,” Marks said.
“It seems to accomplish the two goals we always wanted: not only does the development avoid commercial uses, but it preserves the green lawn and the historic integrity of the building,” he said. “I believe we are on the threshold of something very special for western Towson, and I will almost certainly introduce a resolution advancing this project if the public input meeting has the favorable response I expect.”
In an update on the “Save Bosley Mansion” Facebook page, Bolster wrote that:
The arrangement and orientation of the building and site improvements will be patterned in a similar manner to those in the neighborhood.
The building and parking lot layouts reinforce existing building and street scape patterns, assuring that their placement will have no adverse effects on the neighborhood.
The upscale residential condo building will use the existing public network and street right of way as it currently exists. Additional curb cuts will be made to limit traffic on the roads bordering the property.
The approximate 1.5 acres of open space/front lawn and large trees will remain as the open space view shed that the neighborhood has admired for years.
The scale of the proposed buildings are in proportion to the existing scale of the neighborhood, and buildings on site.
Proposed building materials will generally match the existing building materials, although windows, doors and roofing will be upgraded.
The development application is a reuse of existing structures, with the exception of the 1955 west wing near Dixie Dr., and the 2 story rear kitchen structure. The plan will accommodate ALL parking onsite.
The perimeter landscaping plan will increase the visual appeal from the street view. Efforts will be made to retain the canopy trees, lawn, and stone walls.
The development will be marketed to empty nesters. It will have minimal impact on the county schools enrollment.
There will be no increase, in fact possibly a decrease, in daily traffic. 45 units of retirees/empty nesters will not generate the previous traffic from the PHM’s 24/7 staff, visitors and delivery trucks’ coming and going.