Monday, July 23, 2012

Protection Racket

Last week Bill Mackey told the HoCo Planning Board that the Route 1 corridor, which comprises less than 10% of the county’s land area, accounts for 30% of the county’s jobs. He said the goal of the general plan is to protect this major economic engine.

We haven’t done a very good of this so far. Two years ago the county council voted to rezone the largest remaining tract of industrial land in the Route 1 corridor to Transit Oriented Development. The rezoning allowed the 122 acre parcel to be developed with a mix of residential, office and retail with residential comprising the lions share of the land.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, now Preston Scheffenacker Properties is asking the county to permit even more residential development on the property at the expense of the commercial development. According to this story by Sara Toth in Explore Howard the developer “is proposing an additional 822 units be included in the plan.”

This would be in addition to 954 residential units already approved. Left unsaid in the article is what impact these additional residential units would have on the commercial portions of the project. My guess is that they would be significantly scaled back to make room this residential expansion.

So much for “protecting” this important economic engine!
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