Developer presents traffic study for former camp property
— A Towson development firm took the next step in its plan to build a warehouse on the former Nazarene Camp property when it presented a traffic impact study to the town planning commission Tuesday.
Caves Valley Partners originally met with town officials in March to discuss the possibility of amending current zoning laws to allow a cross dock warehouse facility to be built at the site of the former Christian camp.
The 60-acre property located off of Route 272 is currently zoned highway commercial, but a cross dock warehouse is not among the zoning’s permitted uses. Caves Valley is not asking the town to rezone the property, but merely to modify the current zoning’s permitted uses to allow for a cross dock warehouse.
A cross dock warehouse differs from a traditional warehouse facility in that shipments are delivered by one truck or train and then quickly transferred to a different truck or train with little or no storage time in between.
Following the March meeting, Caves Valley was asked to conduct a traffic
impact study of the area around 200 Nazarene Camp Road and then present those results to the planning commission. The study presented to the commission on Tuesday night showed that the proposed warehouse would generate significantly less traffic than a previously approved shopping center at the same site, said Mark Dobbins, chair of the planning commission. However, the proposed warehouse would generate more heavy truck traffic, he added.
“We’re looking at the economic impact of jobs and development, but also want to take into account the impact of the truck traffic,” Dobbins said, noting that Route 272 already frequently gets congested around rush hour.
The next step in the pro- cess is to get comments from the State Highway Administration about the traffic impact study, Dobbins said. The planning commission will likely get those back by either the October or November meeting, he added.
If the zoning usage is approved, it would be the culmination of a nearly eightyear effort to redevelop the site. The property has been vacant since the Nazarene church sold the land to North East Commons LLC, of which Caves Valley is a managing partner, in 2008.
When the company first bought the former camp, it originally planned to turn the land into a 300,000-squarefoot shopping center that would have space for restaurants, stores and offices. Although the town approved this concept, the economic downturn saw many retailers pull out of the proposed center, and the project never went forward.
Then in February 2014, North East Commons asked the planning commission to amend zoning laws so it could build a cross dock warehouse — the same request that’s before the commission now — but that request was turned down.
Brandon Freel, a principal at Caves Valley Partners, previously told the Whig that if North East does approve the zoning change, the company would likely build the warehouse “on spec,” or without a specific tenant in mind. North East Commons has done some “light marketing” of the site in the last two years and several companies have expressed interest, though none want to commit unless the land is properly zoned.
A Towson development firm hopes to eventually build a warehouse on the site of the former Nazarene Camp property in North East.