As Maryland’s Transportation Secretary under former gov Bob Ehrlich, Bob Flanagan was a proponent of mixed used development at rail stations. As a candidate for county council he has come out against one of two major rail station development proposals in HoCo.
Bob’s got a good point here. According to this story by Larry Carson in The Sun, his opposition to Preston Partners attempt to rezone the former Coca-Cola site in Hanover from its heavy industrial zoning to Transit Oriented Development (TOD) is based on the "very real need for industrial and manufacturing property," in HoCo.
Industrial developers have actually coveted this site for years. When Coca-Cola ultimately decided to divest of this land they solicited offers from the development community. Most of the offers they received back were based on an assumption of some combination of warehouse, flex and single story office product permitted under existing M-2 zoning. Preston outbid their competitors by betting that they could secure a zoning change to TOD that would allow for a mix of high density residential, retail, and office instead.
In order for a property to be considered for TOD zoning it must be “within 3,500 feet of a MARC Station.” That’s just over a half mile. If you go by road distance, the Coca-Cola parcel is a little over a mile away which would seem to put it beyond the reach of qualifying for TOD.
Not so fast, Preston declared. They have pointed to a road easement granted to the parcel dating back to 1749 that runs along the railroad tracks. This easement put the edge of property within that half mile limit.
Denial of TOD zoning to Preston won’t necessarily preclude a TOD development at the Dorsey MARC station either. Though significantly smaller in scale, the large surface parking lot adjacent to the station has the potential to be redeveloped with structured parking and a mix of residential and retail uses.
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