Ques­tions about Foundry Sta­tion town­house plan per­sist

The Dundalk Eagle - - News - By VIR­GINIA TER­HUNE vter­[email protected]­pub.com

An of­fi­cer of the Old Dun­dalk Neigh­bor­hood As­so­ci­a­tion asked devel­op­ers if they would con­sider re­duc­ing the num­ber of town­houses from 185 to 160 in the pro­posed Foundry Sta­tion project off Sollers Point Road dur­ing a pub­lic hear­ing last Thurs­day in Tow­son.

“Our chief con­cern is the den­sity,” said as­so­ci­a­tion Vice Pres­i­dent Glenn Shaf­fer, who sug­gested the lost rev­enue could be re­cov­ered by re­plac­ing some of the 16-foot-wide units with more ex­pen­sive 20-footwide units.

But the devel­op­ers said the County Coun­cil voted in fa­vor of a res­o­lu­tion to re­view an ap­pli­ca­tion for up to 194 units in a Planned Unit De­vel­op­ment for the for­mer Sea­gram’s dis­tillery site.

“The county ap­proved it .. we think we should be en­ti­tled to it,” said Jeff Pow­ers of Pow­ers Homes, a part­ner in the project with brother Mark Pow­ers and lo­cal de­vel­oper John Von­tran.

County em­ploy­ees tes­ti­fied that as­pects of the plan have met re­quire­ments, and devel­op­ers pre­sented let­ters of sup­port from nearby Son­shine Fel­low­ship Church and the York­way com­mu­nity, which Von­tran and the Pow­ers broth­ers also de­vel­oped.

But Shaf­fer and sev­eral other Dun­dalk res­i­dents ex­pressed lin­ger­ing con­cerns dur­ing the hear­ing presided over by county Ad­min­is­tra­tive Law Judge John Beverun­gen.

Af­ter nearly five hours of tes­ti­mony, Beverun­gen con­tin­ued the hear­ing to May 12 to give the county more time to re­view stormwa­ter cal­cu­la­tions sub­mit­ted by the devel­op­ers.

Also out­stand­ing is a re­view by the county’s Land­marks Preser­va­tion Com­mis­sion of the two his­tor­i­cal struc­tures on the site, a wa­ter tower and a smoke­stack.

Sup­port for a PUD means that devel­op­ers can build more units than the un­der­ly­ing zon­ing al­lows, pro­vided that the com­mu­nity ben­e­fits from the project in some way.

Devel­op­ers said the main ben­e­fit is that the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing ware­houses on the long-va­cant Sea­gram’s site, where fires, van­dal­ism and ac­ci­dents have been re­cur­ring prob­lems, will be re­placed.

“The prop­erty is in need of some sort of trans­for­ma­tion,” Mark Pow­ers said.

Short of meet­ing open space re­quire­ments, the devel­op­ers have also agreed to pay the county a fee of $125,000, and it has also agreed to pay $515 per unit ($95,275), for a to­tal of $220,275.

The money is to be spent on a multi-pur­pose ar­ti­fi­cial turf field, lights or re­lated im­prove­ments in the lo­cal recre­ation coun­cil district.

The PUD plan shows an area of com­mon open space near the smoke­stack and wa­ter tower that also in­cludes a tot lot.

In a March 30 let­ter pre­sented at the hear­ing, the CSX rail­road noted that even though the devel­op­ers plan to build a fence, the tracks along the south side of the com­plex could be­come “an at­trac­tive nui­sance” to chil­dren.

If the PUD plan is ap­proved, CSX is re­quest­ing a 50-foot buf­fer be­tween the de­vel­op­ment and the rail right of way and also ask­ing that a fence be built along the prop­erty line, ac­cord­ing to the let­ter.

A note on the PUD plan in­di­cates that CSX trains av­er­age four trips dur­ing a 24 hour pe­riod. How­ever, Dun­dalk res­i­dent Wayne Slo­boda said that trips will likely in­crease as the Spar­rows Point penin­sula re­de­vel­ops to the south.

Slo­boda also noted that although un­der­ground sand fil­ters and a hold­ing tank are planned for the western side of the site near Tyler Road, wa­ter from the com­plex will still drain into the county’s an­ti­quated storm drain sys­tem.

Rus­sell Don­nelly, an en­vi­ron­men­tal an­a­lyst from Spar­rows Point, noted that the con­cept plans do not in­di­cate a stream drain­ing east from the site.

He also said there are aban­doned wells on­site that could present a haz­ard. A note on the PUD plan now says that any wells dis­cov- ered dur­ing con­struc­tion will be filled and closed.

The Foundry Sta­tion’s PUD de­vel­op­ment plan calls for 185 three-story town­houses in clus­ters of six and eight units with no base­ments, and garages in the rear.

To cre­ate a sense of vis­ual va­ri­ety, the units will fea­ture a range of brick, stone and sid­ing ex­te­ri­ors. The project will be sim­i­lar to the Tow­son Green town­house com­plex off Burke Av­enue in Tow­son, devel­op­ers said.

Res­i­dents also raised ques­tions about traf­fic gen­er­ated by the new res­i­dents. Plans show an en­trance and exit off Sollers Point Road, which has one lane in ei­ther di­rec­tion, said Peter Mun­t­jan, an artist who at one time leased space in one of the Sea­gram ware­houses.

Be­cause the for­mer in­dus­trial site is con­tam­i­nated, the devel­op­ers plan to cap most of it with con­crete, as­phalt, clean fill and geo­tex­tile fab­rics that help fil­ter and drain the soil.

Mun­t­jan said he be­lieves that as­bestos and bar­rels of toxic waste may be buried on site. A note in the devel­op­ers’ vol­un­tary cleanup plan sub­mit­ted to the Mary­land De­part­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment says if as­bestos is un­cov­ered dur­ing de­mo­li­tion and con­struc­tion, will be re­moved and dis­posed of.

Res­i­dents will be re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the cap through a home­own­ers as­so­ci­a­tion, which will also be fi­nan­cially re­spon­si­ble for main­tain­ing the stormwa­ter sys­tem, rear al­leys and the site’s his­toric wa­ter tower and smoke­stack.

Shaf­fer said he is con­cerned that the HOA will not be able to pay the main­te­nance costs, which are higher than most town­house com­mu­ni­ties be­cause of the cap.

“What if more than seal a crack in the as­phalt?” he said. “Twenty years down the road, what is the county go­ing to be left with?

PHOTO BY VIR­GINIA TER­HUNE

A smoke­stack and wa­ter tower rise into the sky at the for­mer Sea­gram’s dis­tillery off Sollers Point Road that is pro­posed for re­de­vel­op­ment as the Foundry Sta­tion town­house com­mu­nity.

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