Code en­force­ment or­ders start of Sea­gram’s demo

Fa­cil­ity must be cleared by end of Au­gust

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­

There have been sev­eral fires at the for­mer Sea­gram’s dis­tillery on Sollers Point Road since it was closed in 1992 and the prop­erty went va­cant in 2008.

There have been deaths, with two men dy­ing in ac­ci­den­tal falls while tres­pass­ing on the prop­erty in 2012 and 2014.

But it was a fire that struck the fa­cil­ity over the July 4 week­end that seems to have fi­nally caused Bal­ti­more County to say: enough is enough.

Dur­ing a hear­ing be­fore an ad­min­is­tra­tive law judge last week, the owner of the Sea­gram’s fa­cil­ity was or­dered to have the prop­erty cleared by the end of Au­gust.

“There is a wreck­ing ball in sight,” said Doug An­der­son, se­nior coun­cil as­sis­tant to County Coun­cil­man Todd Cran­dell (R-7).

By rul­ing of the ad­min­is­tra­tive law judge, the main build­ing of the aban­doned dis­tillery must be razed within two weeks of July 13,

and the re­main­der of the fa­cil­ity must be cleared by the end of Au­gust.

The owner, John Von­tran, faces a $100,000 fine if he does not com­ply.

The fine may be abated “with a full and good faith ef­fort to com­plete all work within the al­lot­ted time frame,” Bal­ti­more County Chief of Code En­force­ment Lionel Van Dom­me­len wrote in an email to Cran­dell’s of­fice shared with the Ea­gle.

As part of the over­all cleanup, “some as­bestos treat­ment is an­tic­i­pated,” Van Dom­me­len wrote.

The code en­force­ment hear­ing on July 12 was in re­ac­tion to the July 3 fire. Von­tran re­ceived a code ci­ta­tion on July 3 due to that fire, which started shortly be­fore dawn and was brought un­der con­trol with­out any in­juries.

Usu­ally, much more time passes be­tween a ci­ta­tion and a hear­ing, but the sit­u­a­tion with the Sea­gram’s prop­erty “has gone on for so long, it was: see you on the 12th,” An­der­son said.

The cleanup of the prop­erty should in­clude re­moval of all the over­grown shrub­bery and bushes, An­der­son said, as well as the proper abate­ment of as­bestos and any other hazards (lead).

At­tempts to con­tact Von­tran by phone and email were un­suc­cess­ful.

Von­tran and his part­ners re­ceived ap­proval from the county in Oc­to­ber to pro­ceed with plans to build a 185unit town­house de­vel­op­ment on the prop­erty to be called Foundry Sta­tion.

These would be three-story town­houses, with an en­trance to the de­vel­op­ment off of Sollers Point Road.

The plan must also in­clude a six­foot high fence to be built on the western edge of the 12-acre site. This is to screen the de­vel­op­ment from the res­i­dents of Tyler Road.

The Old Dun­dalk Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­a­tion had re­quested the de­vel­op­ment be re­stricted to 160 units.

“Nev­er­the­less, we are ex­cited that the neigh­bor­hood blight that is the di­lap­i­dated Sea­grams build­ings will be elim­i­nated and trust that Mr. Von­tran is a man of his word when he said the build­ings will come down when the de­vel­op­ment plan is ap­proved,” as­so­ci­a­tion vice-pres­i­dent Glenn Shaf­fer told the Ea­gle in Oc­to­ber.

Ear­lier this decade, Von­tran float- ed an idea to give the Sea­gram’s prop­erty to Bal­ti­more County in ex­change for the land at the cor­ner of Mer­ritt Boule­vard and Wise Av­enue cur­rently oc­cu­pied by the North Point Gov­ern­ment Cen­ter.

Von­tran said he would build a new po­lice sta­tion for Precinct 12, as well as a new recre­ation fa­cil­ity, at his own ex­pense on the Sea­gram’s prop­erty in ex­change for be­ing al­lowed to de­velop the gov­ern­ment cen­ter prop­erty.

The of­fer was never for­mally made, due to im­me­di­ate op­po­si­tion from com­mu­nity groups bor­der­ing the gov­ern­ment cen­ter prop­erty. Precinct 12 was even­tu­ally re-lo­cated to the for­mer East­wood El­e­men­tary School.

“To our knowl­edge, [Von­tran] has ev­ery­thing he needs to start de­vel­op­ing the prop­erty,” An­der­son said. “He’s got­ten all of his per­mits.”


The owner of the for­mer Sea­gram’s dis­tillery on Sollers Point Road re­ceived ap­proval last fall to build a 185-unit town­house de­vel­op­ment on the site.


Bal­ti­more County Code En­force­ment or­dered the Sea­gram’s fa­cil­ity on Sollers Point Road to be cleared by the end of Au­gust. The main build­ing must be razed by the end of next week.

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