Councilman David Marks said he will introduce a development plan on Tuesday that would allow the Bosley Mansion in Southland Hills to be converted into luxury condominiums. The Southland Hills Community Association supports the plan.
“After nearly two years, I believe the proposal submitted by Marty Azola and Delbert Adams is the most realistic plan for preserving the mansion and as much of the green space as possible,” Marks said in a statement. “Neither the state nor county governments is likely to buy this property, and if this proposal collapses, I am concerned about the mansion rotting away with an uncertain future. Azola and Adams, with their long history of historic preservation, are the right developers to save the Bosley Mansion.”
The 4.5-acre site is currently zoned for approximately 20 residential homes. To get around that, the developers submitted a Planned Unit Development (PUD) application. The PUD can’t move ahead unless the council person in which the project is located submits it to the full county council.
In order for a PUD to gain approval, the 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 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.
In the summer of 2016, the county floated the idea of having Caves Valley Partners buy the property and then convert it into offices to be used by county employees. That plan was eventually scrapped amid concern from the surrounding neighbors.
In a letter to the council, Southland Hills president Jennifer Bolster said her group had voted unanimously in support of the new condo project.
“We have been very impressed with how Bosley Estates LLC Principals Marty Azola and Delbert Adams have worked closely with the community in the last eight months. They have attended numerous meetings, answered emails, and spent hours with neighbors discussing the project. They are receptive to neighbors’ ideas and concerns for redevelopment in the vernacular and character of our neighborhood. They are committed to preserving the Bosley Mansion, the large trees, and open space that neighbors cherish,” she wrote.
“We understand that granting the PUD will result in an increased density of residences over the current DR 5.5 zoning. However, we believe that the proposed high quality condominium project will deliver a significant community benefit in the form of enhanced property values, as well as preservation of the historic Bosley Mansion and green space,” Bolster wrote.
The Greater Towson Council of Community Associations (GTCCA) also said it supports the PUD.
“While the Preservation Alliance of Baltimore County is pleased to see the preservation language in the PUD and is delighted that the project will be in the hands of Azola and Adams, it will continue to work with the parties involved to obtain a definitive agreement to the protection and long-term maintenance of Dr. Grafton Bosley’s home as the property is developed,” Timothy Bishop, chairman of the Preservation Alliance of Baltimore County, said in a statement.
The mansion was until recently was an assisted-living facility called Presbyterian Home of Maryland that had operated since 1929,