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Sign Law Affecting Towson Changes

Bill limits signs to one area of the Towson Commercial District. The council also approves the donation of Catonsville Short Line rail property and the appointment of Dr. Gregory Branch as director of Social Services.

A law meant to allow changeable copy signs in downtown Towson has been changed before the first sign could even be erected.

The bill, as approved last night, amends a law sponsored by Councilman David Marks two months ago.

The amendments passed last night, which go into effect on Dec. 19, limit the height of the signs to areas in the northern arc of the Towson commercial district around the Towson City Center project. The bill also limits the height of the signs to 55 feet.

In October, the council approved a bill , in certain areas in the downtown Towson commercial district.

The bill was supposed to apply primarily to the Towson City Center project, but community activists worried that it was drawn broadly enough to expand to other areas.

"We think this addresses the concern we had, which was that the (original law) could apply to more than one building," said David Kosak, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations.

In other council news:

  • The council unanimously approved a resolution to acquire nearly 23 acres of land that is the former Catonsville Short Line Railroad from Catonsville Rails to Trails Inc. The organization will and maintain it for 10 years. The property is valued at $10,000.
  • Baltimore County Health Officer Dr. Gregory Branch was approved as the head of the new Department of Social Services—a consolidated  agency that includes the Health Department and Social Services. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz consolidated the two agencies in July.
  • Council Chairman John Olszewski Sr. abstained from a vote on an agreement between the county and Franklin Square Hospital to provide life support training to county paramedics. The hospital is donating the training free of charge. The value of the training over the two-year agreement is estimated at about $20,000. Olszewski said after the meeting that he abstained because he serves on the hospital's foundation, which raises money for the facility.
  • Councilwoman Cathy Bevins was absent from Monday's meeting. Olszewski said the absence was due to a vacation.

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