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Speakers Divided over Foundry Row Development

About 60 speakers voiced their opinions whether the proposed project would help or hurt residents and businesses in the Reisterstown Road Corridor.

 

Sixty people spoke out during a public hearing Thursday in Pikesville regarding Baltimore County's Comprehensive Zoning & Mapping Process for District 2.

That's a significant number of speakers, compared to the 13 who signed up to speak during the 5th District's CZMP meeting on Monday.

While the District 2 meeting dealt with 35 zoning issues, 68 percent of the speakers voiced their support or opposition to the proposed Foundry Row project along Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills.

to begin, the former Solo Cup manufacturing land, now owned by Greenberg Gibbons and scheduled to be developed along with Vanguard, must be rezoned from its current manufacturing to a business zone.

Those who spoke about the project displayed divided opinions, during the Baltimore County Planning Board phase of the CZMP.

Vote No on Solo

Some said they oppose Foundry Row, that would include a Wegmans grocery store anchor as well as a fitness anchor and sports retail anchor stores, because consumers have limited dollars to spend on retail, dining and entertainment.

A new development would take consumers and their finite amount of money away from existing businesses, opponents said.

Carol Holland, who lives on High Meadow Road in District 3, spoke against the project.

She said she's an employee of in the St. Thomas Shopping Center next to the proposed Foundry Row site. She said she's worried about losing her job and "about the success of the entire shopping center."

She also said a retail project like Foundry Row will end up creating "a traffic nightmare."

Rena Levin of Boxford Road in Baltimore City urged the council to "find another focus" for the former Solo Cup site.

Vote Is Next

Earlier this month, the county Planning Board recommended to the council that zoning be changed to make way for Foundry Row.

Now it's up to the council to accept or reject the board's recommendation. The council votes on the CZMP on Aug. 28, according to Jonathan Schwartz, senior council assistant.

Foundry Row favored

Those who spoke Thursday in favor of the project said Foundry Row would keep Reisterstown Road corridor consumers in the area.

The corridor includes north Baltimore, Pikesville, Garrison, Owings Mills and Reisterstown.

Currently, the majority of those consumers travel to Towson, Columbia and elsewhere to shop, they said.

Noel Levy, of Windsong Court in Pikesville, voiced his support for Foundry Row.

He said that although residents in Pikesville and throughout District 2 have endured a barrage of robocalls and surveys that try to sway residents against the project, he believes the development is needed.

That's because Foundry Row includes a planned widening by two lanes of the congested Reisterstown Road and Painters Mill Road intersection, as well as developing a Foundry Row Boulevard that would run behind a neighboring shopping center that includes Home Depot.

"We need a Wegmans," he said, noting that several grocery stores have closed in recent years, including a Weis Market and Shopper's Food in the Owings Mills area, as well as a Safeway in Pikesville.

A group of residents, many from Districts 3 and 4, and some from District 2, spoke out against Foundry Row. Several who spoke, including Holland, wore T-shirts with the slogan "Vote No On Solo" from the Say No To Solo coalition.

About a dozen people in the audience held signs and wore the same shirts.

Outside the school, signs that said "Vote No On Solo" lined the sidewalk.

Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond, who represents the 2nd District, is likely the council member to whom the other six will turn for guidance when voting on 2nd District CZMP issues.

Schwartz, who is Almond's assistant, said Wednesday during an interview about the meeting, "Anything we can do to keep people in the Reisterstown Road corridor will be a boon to local business, including Pikesville."

Chuck Burton June 09, 2012 at 12:55 PM
I buy most of my food from Giant, Mars and Aldi, ocasionally going to Wegmans in Hunt Valley (would like one in OM). Other things I mostly buy online, or go elsewhere, though I did recently buy a new computer at Office Depot after finding it advertised online. There just seems to be little choice in the RR corridor, and I would hope Foundry Row would give us some choices. I only go to the Mall once a year or so to Lenscrafters or JCP, since Borders closed.
Buck Harmon June 09, 2012 at 01:13 PM
No one really knows the effect Foundry Row will have on the community at this point.... Politics will continue to cater to select developers either way....it's always been this way. Only time will tell....does Almond listen to the people, or does she know more than they do?
Christopher Will June 09, 2012 at 02:00 PM
I can't even believe this is being debated. That corner looks like crap. This is going to complete resurrect Reisterstown Rd.
kathy gambrill June 09, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I like the idea of Wegman's at the Solo property. I think the chances of a manufacturing business opening at that location are slim. I shop at Wegman's,Hunt Valley about once a month. I would much rather spend my $$ in OM and keep it local. The Giant on York Rd is still open and Wegman's is right up the street from them.
marsha marcus June 09, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Community support is important! I am tired of Owings Mills not accepting the chance for revival. Remember Hunt Valley was dead until the vision was to bring Wegmans in with a shopping area. Crofton too has a vision with their newest shopping area with Wegmans. Bring back the excitement of living in 21117 and 21136!
Zoobie June 09, 2012 at 11:09 PM
' don't know much about 21117, but there's lots of excitement in 21136.Most every night the sirens can be heard forever! As for the SOLO sight, that place employed lots of people for years, and that's where the focus should be centered...EMPLOYMENT !!! Whether it's Wegmans or another Industrial Pursuit at that location, the council should consider first and formost 'How Many People Can Be Employed' by the endeavor. (For the Dems. on the council...It's "Business+Employment=Taxes")
Buck Harmon June 09, 2012 at 11:54 PM
Well said Zoobie...
Norma Bosley June 10, 2012 at 03:03 AM
Wegman's would be a boon to the area. That corner needs a resurrection. If all the developers work together, each new area (the mall, Foundry Row, and the Metro Center) could all be OM jewels. Just look at White Marsh...the mall and The Avenue are both going strong. Different businesses for different needs. And new businesses mean new jobs!
MC Baker June 10, 2012 at 10:57 AM
Competition is good... Wegmans is a destination that will bring folks into the area as well as keep area folks who go to Wegmans in Hunt Valley and else where HERE... put jobs there and keep the $$$ here... we'll save on gas and have a little more to spend
Chuck Burton June 10, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Granted that retail jobs don't pay as well as manufacturing jobs, here is a chance to get hundreds of retail jobs at Wegmans and the satellite businesses it wil attract within a couple of years. Trying to attract a new manufacturer to the Solo site will likely take many years before anything develops, and then the company would probably hire only a handful of well paid people to run a largely automated plant. People graduating from high schools and colleges need jobs now, even if they don't fulfil their dreams; and if they are talented, they may be able, in time, to work their way up to something like what they dream of. And Wegmans is certainly not a fall-back - it's rated one of the best employers in the country.
Francine Bernstein Selzer June 21, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I agree with Marsha Marcus definately bring Wegmans to this area Owings Mills, MD. We need Wegmans which is a great store . It will bring people here for a nice shopping experience. Hunt vallet, Columbia, Crofton has Wegmans Now it is our turn .Wegmans in our area.

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