Friday, October 21, 2011

The Exec and the Intermodal

During the question and answer period at the HoCo EDA commercial real estate breakfast earlier this week, I asked Laura Nueman why the EDA has been so silent on the intermodal issue. I pointed out to Laura that while it is good and fine to promote the county as a center for cyber security we still have 9 million square feet of distribution space in the county that would benefit directly from an intermodal terminal being located here.

Laura response was that with contentious issues such as this, the EDA is “Switzerland.” In other words, they would remain neutral.

Of course I wasn’t about to drop this so easily. I replied that one of the things that businesses look for when considering where to locate is certainty and consistency in loco government. In this case, the majority of our loco elected officials have vowed to try and prevent CSX from locating at the Hanover site, even though that site already has the requisite zoning. That's not what I'd call being certain and consistent.

At this comment, Ken Ulman stepped in and said that not all loco businesses supported having the intermodal locate in Hanover. I believe he was referring to the developers of Oxford Square who successfully rezoned another Hanover site from M2 to Transit Oriented Development last year. The new guys don’t want an intermodal terminal in the same neighborhood as their apartments.

That doesn’t sound right. As far as I’m concerned the rezoning of the former CoCo Cola land was just a bad idea to begin with. The property is surrounded by warehouses, railroad tracks and highways. The link to the nearby MARC station is tenuous at best. To say that this use should take precedent over existing industrial uses is an affront to every distribution business in the county.

To be fair, Ken did say that he thought the other proposed HoCo site on Montevideo Road was a better fit for the intermodal and he also agreed that it would be better to have it in HoCo than an adjacent county.

The thing is, as long the required zoning is already in place at both sites, that should be CSX’s call not the execs.
blog comments powered by Disqus