Showing posts with label Elkridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elkridge. Show all posts

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Musical Chairs

I blame it on the beer. Shortly after this post I received an email from one the participants taking exception to my comment about the lack of Repub candidates for the D1 council seat in 2014. The email pointed out that “Chris Merdon is a strong candidate for District 1 and that was seconded by another member of the group.”

"I really think this needs to be corrected because your portrayal of the GOP is not fair based on the discussion we had."

My bad. I should probably take more notes and drink less beer at our next gathering.

A Merdon candidacy would add an interesting dynamic to that race. Chris held the seat from 1998 until 2006 when he ran for county exec against Ken Ulman. Chris endorsed Bob Flanagan in 2010 when he sought to retake the seat for the Repubs from Courtney Watson, saying that “nobody knows this district better than Bob.”

The chances of the Repubs reclaiming this seat would improve significantly if, as rumored, there is a primary fight on the Dem side of the ticket. Dave Grabowski, current chair of the HoCo Planning Board formed a campaign committee in January, presumably to take a run at the D1 seat. Another Dem, Jon Weinstein, is also expected to announce for that seat.

At our gathering Monday night our Elkridge group member posited that Jon would have trouble getting much traction in Elkridge, at least in east of 95 Elkridge. A primary challenge from a candidate who lives in that part of town wouldn't help Jon's situation.

It will be interesting to see if Courtney makes a primary endorsement or opts instead to sit out that fight and save her blessings for the general election.

And speaking of Courtney…the current council person for D1 held a fundraiser last night at Union Jacks Pub in Columbia. Astute loco politico observers will note that Union Jacks is actually in District 4, Mary Kay Sigaty’s council district, though I didn't see Mary Kay at the party. Courtney spoke about wanting to continue to serve the county but stopped short of an actual announcement about running for exec.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bonnie Branch Blockage

HoCo residents living in the Ellicott City Elkridge border area are acutely aware that Bonnie Branch Road has been closed to through traffic since mid February. As in most cases, you don’t really appreciate something until you can’t have it.

We won’t have our Bonnie back until sometime in July.
Big chunks of it are missing right now as the county tries to keep certain portions of the winding road from falling into its namesake water body. Yesterday, Mama Wordbones and I walked up to take a first hand look. It was a rare pleasure to walk along Bonnie Branch Road without having to watch for cars.
And now I can’t get that song out of my head.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Transformation (Gentrification?) of Route 1

It is most evident in the stretch of Route 1 between Route 175 and Route 100. Icons of the past have been replaced with shiny new projects. The Copper Stallion Motel has been demolished to make way for a medical office building and the former Aladdin Mobile Home Park is now a mixed use development called Howard Square. The workingman’s roadhouse, Three Nines Tavern has been razed and is now a development opportunity. Next to what once was a thriving flea market, the 85 acre Blue Stream development (pictured above) is well underway.

After eleven years of preparation, the Route 1 Revitalization effort has finally begun, changing the face and character of one of HoCo’s more colorful corridors.

There’s much more to come too.

In this two mile section of Route 1 alone there are at least twenty pink signs marking proposed changes for the comprehensive zoning process, making it one the highest concentrations of  zoning amendments in the county. In all, there are over 40 proposed changes within the HoCo borders of the 2,377 mile highway that begins at the Canadian border in Fort Kent and ends in Key West.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Are Drive Thru Lanes a Gender Issue?

Yesterday, in the county council work session on a developers request to permit drive thru lanes in a Transit Oriented District, Marsha McLaughlin pointed out that the Planning Board voted along gender lines in rejecting the change. Jacqueline Easley, the sole female member of the five member board, pointed out that drive thrus are helpful when you have three kids in the car. She cast the only vote in support of the change.

The three women on the council seemed to empathize, though Calvin Ball and Greg Fox both pointed out that they were dads and therefore not unsympathetic to the challenge of dealing with three kids in the car. Greg appeared to support the Planning Boards decision.

The bottom line is that drive-through lanes, particularly for fast food, are bad. According to this post on the Sierra Club blog, cars idling in drive thru lanes are a big waste of energy.

“Taking the fast-food industry as an example, and taking into account that the average McDonald's drive-through wait is 159 seconds, we can calculate that the company's consumers burn some 7.25 million gallons of gas each year. The figure for the entire U.S. fast-food industry? Roughly 50 million gallons.”

There is also the health issue. It seems to me that getting those three kids out of the car and moving around is a good way to negate the impact of eating fast food.

Then again, I am a man…and a dad.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Because it’s Sooner


Preston Sheffenacker Properties is trying to tweak the commercial component in the Oxford Square project in Elkridge. The TOD zoning that they successfully attained for the 120 acre development two years ago allows for a variety of commercial uses including apartments. Now they want to add town homes into the mix. They also want to be able to have stand alone fast food restaurants complete with drive thru lanes.

Both of these are significant changes to the TOD zone. This is supposedly a pedestrian orientated zoning district and there is nothing pedestrian oriented about a drive thru lane.

Last night Councilperson Greg Fox asked David Sheffenacker, if there was some reason for doing this now since we are just getting ready to embark on comprehensive rezoning in which we’ll be dealing with issues like this throughout the county.

“It’s sooner,” he replied

Greg pressed him further, “What’s compelling as to why this needs to be done now?”

“Because it’s sooner” he said flatly.

With that attitude, sooner may be later.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Intermodal Finds a Home


The news this week that CSX and the City of Baltimore had settled on a site for the proposed intermodal terminal bought a sigh of relief to some people in Elkridge. When state and railroad officials originally announced that a 90 acre site in Hanover was one of four finalists for the facility, residents organized to stop it.

They weren’t the only winners in this battle. As Councilperson Courtney Watson pointed out to me early this week, the new location in the Morrell Park area of the city will be a good deal less expensive. Initial estimates for the Hanover site put the total cost around $140 million with the state and feds picking up half the tab. The city site, expanding an existing rail yard, is projected to cost $90 million with no federal subsidy. The state has agreed to spend about $30 million on the project. Because federal monies are not part of the new equation, the project is no longer subject to the dreaded National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process which added time and additional costs. That has to be also considered a win for CSX.

So what is to become of the Hanover site?

The land remains zoned M2, HoCo’s designation for heavy industry. Already, Aggregate Management Inc. (Laurel Sand and Gravel) is moving ahead with plans for a new asphalt plant on ten acres of the site that was previously optioned to CSX. With the scarcity of M2 land in the corridor, it is unlikely that the balance of the property will remain undeveloped much longer.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

HoCo Open Mike Night


I attended the county execs Public Forum at the Robinson Nature Center last night. I figured it would be a good opportunity to find out what was on the minds of the HoCo locos. Ken had key department heads, including the police and fire chiefs, on hand to address specific areas of residents concern.

So what are those areas of concerns?


I arrived a little late but from what I heard they included a wide range of issues including speed cams, growth in North Laurel, a high school for Elkridge, the shooting in Aurora, Colorado and defense spending.



It seems that no topic was considered too big for our exec.

Ken let Bill McMahon speak about the shooting. Bill lauded the response of the Aurora police and rescue units, pointing out that the police were on the scene within ninety seconds. Granted that was fast but for the people in that theatre, those ninety seconds probably seemed like an eternity.

Folks from the High Ridge community in Scaggsville turned out in force to implore the exec to slow down the development occurring in their community. They pointed out that new home developments are twice as dense as the developments built in the nineties. One resident even suggested that the addition of townhome projects has led to increased crime. All I could think of was “Welcome to Smart Growth.”

 Ken expressed concern and said that “he wants to look at this more.”

Marc Norman got a turn with the mike. After complementing the exec on his stewardship of the county and the broadband initiative, he proceeded to complain about how a certain unnamed county employee seemed to take pleasure in stymieing his attempts to get information, specifically about the activities of his nemesis, the Mangione family. I got the sense that Ken found Marc’s diatribe rather tiresome. I snapped the following pictures as Marc unwound his dark conspiracy theories for the exec.
Howard Johnson, representing the Greater Elkridge Community Association, followed Marc. He thanked the exec for his help in keeping the intermodal terminal out of Hanover and then proceeded to make the case for more county projects, including a high school and a traffic light at US Route 1 and Ducketts Lane. Ken reminded everyone that the county recently purchased Belmont in Elkridge and that construction of the first phase of Troy Hill Park in Elkridge is slated to begin this September.

The last speaker of the evening was Ken Schafer, a resident of Turf Valley Overlook in Ellicott City. Mr. Schafer wants the county to place speed bumps in his community but was told that a neighbor “who is well connected in the county” would block any attempts to get them.

Ken told Ken that “nobody is well connected” in HoCo.

That got a laugh.

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!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Where Did the Weekend Go?

“Where did the weekend go,” I thought to myself as I cleaned up after Sunday dinner. Here it was the night before another work week and it felt like another weekend had flown by.

That’s not to say I didn’t have fun. Friday was the last day of school and Peanuts last day of middle school. Unlike some private schools, Ellicott Mills did not have an elaborate eighth grade graduation ceremony. They had a formal dance on Wednesday and a nice little assembly on the last day but no caps and gowns scene. I think that’s a little too much, for eighth grade anyway.

We marked the occasion beginning with lunch outside at Johnny’s Main Street Bistro in Ellicott City and later with one of her one of her favorite meals enjoyed under the stars at home. In between we launched our summer reading project while sitting in the white rocking chairs on the screened in porch.

Saturday night Mama Wordbones and I narrowed our outside dining choices down to Eggspectation and Rams Head Tavern in Savage Mill. We concluded that the food quality was about the same at both places but Rams Head won out on ambiance. The outside deck at the old mill overlooking the river won out over the best storm water management view in Columbia.  
After breakfast this morning Peanut and I set off to try and find nectarines, one of her favorite fruits. I realize that it is too early for loco nectarines but with all of these farmers markets going on around here, I figured somebody would have nectarines. We started with the Second Sunday Market in Ellicott City but it was fruitless. We then headed over to Catonsville where the market held more offerings but nary a nectarine. On a whim we decided to check out the Green Valley Market in Elkridge and was there that we found our nectarines. This grocery store has the warm feel of a real community market as opposed to the bigger chain grocers.

After we returned home, unprompted, Peanut suggested that we spend a little time reading together. I asked her what she thought of Game of Thrones so far.

“Awesome,” was her response.

Sigh. So far so good.

I don’t know exactly where the weekend went but the journey along the way was awesome.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Three Things about Food

Famous Dave's is closing at the end of this month. That’s the bad news. The good news for their customers and employees is that Famous Dave's BBQ will reopen on May 20th. At least that’s what the guy pouring over blueprints labeled “Renovation” told me. The Columbia Crossing restaurant is getting a major makeover, both inside and out.

For the majority of the wait staff this means cooling your heals for three weeks this spring. “It’s just long enough not to want to go back,” one of them quipped this afternoon.

Gerald Koh and his Bon Fresco Sandwich Bakery in Columbia were featured in this story by Rina Rapuano in The Washington Post today. The writer notes that Koh has some chops in the baking business having worked for a period under master baker Mark Furstenberg.

“Gerald Koh credits the guru with teaching him how to make artisanal breads - although the 58-year-old Columbia baker and owner of Bon Fresco Sandwich Bakery says he had a good handle on several varieties even before that.”

I’m a fan. My favorite sandwich is his corned beef on ciabatta, served hot. His couscous side dish kicks butt.

HowChow has helped popularize the suburban phenomenon of dining with a parking lot view. This weekend I was inspired to suggest yet another suburban dining view, the stormwater management pond.

Last week, on one of the nicer days, I grabbed lunch at Qdoba on Dobbin Road. Taking advantage of the sunny afternoon I sat down at one of the outdoor tables which overlook a stormwater management pond. Last Saturday, Mama Wordbones and I had a late dinner at El Hildago in Elkridge. It was a nice evening so we opted for an outside table, overlooking another stormwater management pond.

That has to be another uniquely suburban experience.

The Price of Passion

Art Tollick is passionate about tennis. Art is so passionate about the game that for the past eight years or so he dedicated himself full time to getting a world class tennis facility built in HoCo. Yesterday, that dream was likely dealt a fatal blow when the county exec decided to move forward with the development of the new Troy Hill Park without the Troy Park Tennis and Sports Center.

According to this story by Kevin Rector in Explore Howard, a recent study commissioned by the Maryland Stadium Authority determined that the “complex's ability to attract major tournaments would not be guaranteed, the cost of operating the facility as a public amenity would be high, and its economic benefits would be diminished by the county's lack of nearby hotels.”

Art’s group, Howard County Tennis Patrons, successfully lobbied the county to dedicate thirteen acres of land in the future Troy Hill Park for construction of a $44 million tennis stadium and training facility. Initially the group had hoped to use private money to develop the project but the recession dampened enthusiasm from private investors. Undaunted, the group then sought additional financial support from the county. Before the county would commit, they wisely commissioned the study.

I should note that I was not a supporter of public funding for this tennis park. I was skeptical of the economic benefits and I felt that the site itself had some serious issues, particularly with regards to parking.

That being said, I still admire and respect someone who puts themselves “out there” to fight for something they passionately believe in. For Art, the failure of this effort has to sting but sometimes that is the price of passion. Still, it is far better to have tried and failed then not having tried at all.

Friday, March 30, 2012

CSX…In the News

This morning HoCo residents awoke to news of a CSX “ freight train collision” in Jessup. A story about the incident by Elizabeth Janney in Elkridge Patch  immediately linked the accident to the HoCo loco intermodal controversy.

While the proposed intermodal site in Hanover has gotten most of the attention, some loco politicos have suggested that the Montevideo Road site might be the better choice. Those residents used this incident to suggest that they don't want an intermodal terminal either. The Montevideons cited this freight train collision as further evidence of the “impact of having a large-scale freight operation which may be rife with hazardous materials near their homes.”

The thing is, this wasn’t really so much a collision as it was a derailment. No one was injured and damage appeared relatively minimal. WUSA didn't even use the word collision in their report. They called it a minor train derailment. They have pictures too. 

Yesterday, just before this  happened, CSX announced that it was adding 140 jobs in Maryland this year, including new jobs right here in Jessup. I didn’t hear or read any stories with quotes from politicos, economic development authorities or chambers of commerce welcoming this news. In fairness, it could be that the press was only minimally interested and nobody asked. An announcement of 140 layoffs or news of an accident that hurt or killed someone would be much more interesting I suppose.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Intermodal Adjustment

Apparently the biggest rail choke point on the east coast is the Howard Street Tunnel in Baltimore. When a train fire temporarily closed the tunnel back in 2001, some northbound trains from Baltimore’s port had to be routed through Cleveland and then Albany before reaching Philadelphia and New York City. According to this story by Ashley Halsey III in The Washington Post, “the tunnel’s too short for the taller modern freight trains. Like the throat of an hourglass, it chokes commerce along the East Coast and to Midwest markets.”

“Now, 21st-century economics are about the unleash a new challenge that the tunnel cannot handle.”

The tunnel has been deemed too expensive to fix, some estimates are as high as $3 billion. In other words, Baltimore needs a work around and that’s what the proposed intermodal terminal is all about.

“The choice location, from CSX’s point of view, is 15 miles from dockside and would cost between $140 million and $165 million to build. People in that community, Elkridge, have been outspoken against it, preferring a new school and preserving residential development.”

“From there the three other prospective sites get farther out and more expensive. Another is 19 miles away and estimated to cost $200 million to $225 million. A site near the state prison in Jessup is 24 miles from the port and would cost between $300 million and $325 million. The third is 34 miles out in Beltsville, and the price tag is estimated at $175 million to $200 million. CSX and the state have agreed to split the cost, up to $150 million, but who would pony up the balance of any amount above that has not been decided.”

What is at stake here is the survival of one of the greatest economic generators in the region, the Port of Baltimore. Right now, Baltimore and Norfolk are the only two deep water ports on the east coast capable of handling the new supersized container ships that will begin passing through the Panama Canal in 2014 but not for long. Ports in Savannah, Charleston amd New York are planning upgrades to compete for this international trade. Baltimores key advantage is being closer inland to critical Midwest markets than all of them.
I realize no one wants an intermodal terminal in their backyard but it has to go somewhere, and the sooner the better. There has to be a way to make this work.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

SRB & CSX

The mayor of Baltimore weighed in today on the importance of an intermodal rail transfer facility in the Baltimore/Washington corridor calling it an economic imperative for keeping the Port of Baltimore competitive. In this op-ed piece in The Sun, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake wrote that the completion of the widening of the Panama Canal to accommodate larger ships will create a “new surge in imports and exports is projected to result in thousands of new jobs and millions in new economic activity — not just for Baltimore, but across the metro region. We must act swiftly to take advantage of this unprecedented opportunity.”

“The truth is, our port makes Baltimore relevant in the global economy and is an economic engine that serves as a pillar of growth for our city. Moving forward with an intermodal facility — in a way that makes sense for our state, our port, and the private sector — is critical to keeping that engine humming. As an additional benefit for everyone who commutes in our region each day, driving more freight traffic onto rail reduces emissions, costs and wear and tear on our roads.”

Of course the sticky question is still where to put it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Port Lands a Very Big Deal

The future prospects of the Port of Baltimore for container shipping got a big boost this week. The world’s fifth largest container shipping company, Hapag-Lloyd has chosen Baltimore over other east coast ports, to be a major US shipping hub. According to this story by Candus Thomson in The Sun, state officials, who had lobbied hard to woo Hapag-Lloyd to Baltimore, claimed this “will boost container traffic at the port of Baltimore by roughly 10 percent, increasing the number of waterfront jobs and further raising the region's profile within the maritime industry…,”

Good news indeed. There’s a HoCo loco angle to this story too.

“For stevedores and other workers at the Seagirt Marine Terminal, operated by Ports America Chesapeake, the additional containers will serve as a warmup for the expected arrival of the so-called post-Panamax ships, the world's largest cargo vessels that will use the Panama Canal after a widening project is completed in 2014.”

This is one of the reasons why a loco intermodal terminal could be a boon to some of the HoCo loco companies involved in the distribution of goods. There is approximately six million square feet of HoCo loco warehouse space housing a variety of distribution firms. I really don’t care if its Montevideo or Hanover as long as its here it will be good for those jobs.

CSX actually helped sell Baltimore to Hapag-Lloyd. James White, executive director of the Maryland Port Administration explained “a team that included Ports America Chesapeake and CSX as well as the port of Baltimore made a presentation to Hapag-Lloyd…”

“Ports America was able to emphasize the deep-water, post-Panamax berth and cranes, its efficiency in unloading ships and the open land next to Seagirt, on which a warehouse could be constructed. CSX outlined its $160 million commitment to finishing the National Gateway rail project, which will allow double-stacked freight trains to deliver goods to the Midwest.”

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Quieter Airport?

The Maryland Aviation Administration has plans to sell off excess property around BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport that it acquired over the years as part of a noise zone program. According to this story by Alexander Jackson in the Baltimore Business Journal, the MAA has identified 190 parcels of land that are “no longer needed as noise buffers.”

“The MAA obtained FAA approval of a reuse plan in June 2010. That approval will allow it to sell the 190 parcels over the next five years.”

I was curious to see what had changed with the airports noise so I went to the FAA website and found this noise zone map from 1998.
When I compared it to the new noise zone map I discovered one interesting development. In 1998, a large portion of the Oxford Square development in Elkridge was in the noise zone. This would have prohibited a fair amount of the projects residential development, not to mention making it an even less attractive site for a middle school.

Fortunately for David Scheffenacker, the 2007 map moves the noise zone line to just outside his development.

I suppose this means the airport has gotten quieter over the years, even as passenger traffic has increased.

And finally, just for fun, I ran across this video of airport take-offs and landings...

Friday, December 09, 2011

Intermodal Makes for Odd Bedfellows

It wasn’t that long ago that certain resident activists of Elkridge were up in arms about the proposed zoning change to the former Coca Cola property in Hanover. Three years ago, David Scheffenacker asked the county to rezone the 122 acre rail served property from M2 (heavy industrial) to TOD (transit oriented development). Scheffenacker made his case for mixed use based on a tenuous easement connecting the property to the nearby MARC station that dates back to the 1700’s. Residents were further outraged that the school board was considering putting a much needed elementary school in the new development because of its proximity to a CSX mainline.

Councilpersons Courtney Watson and Greg Fox even voted against the rezoning. As Larry Carson wrote a year ago in this article in The Sun, “they argued, industrially zoned land should not be changed for residential use and Elkridge is too congested already.”

Courtney and Greg ended up losing that battle in a three to two vote. County Executive Ken Ulman heavily championed the project and prodded his Dem colleagues on the council to approve the zoning change.

What a difference a year makes. Now that David has gotten his zoning change, he wants to change the complexion of the rest of the neighborhood too. That means no intermodal terminal in Hanover, just a little over a mile away from his development. If the proposed CSX intermodal were to land in Hanover, the trucks servicing the terminal would roll right past his tastefully designed entrance, around the clock. That could certainly put a damper on the upscale "Oxford" image he is attempting to sell. Note that he didn't call the project Hanover Square.

And that’s why this development should have never been approved in the first place, It’s a residential project plopped down in the middle of an industrial district.

But I digress.

The activists in Hanover opposed to having the intermodal terminal in their backyard suddenly have a new ally. According to this article by Elizabeth Janney in Elkridge Patch, David has pledged his legal team to help the community in its fight.

"After talking to your [GECA] committee for the intermodal, we have hired four attorneys to fight this," said Scheffenacker at the Dec. 6 meeting, "and we’ve decided it would be good if our attorneys were your attorneys, too."

As the Arabic proverb goes, “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

I haven’t figured out yet if this also means that these residents are now on board with the notion of a middle school being located in David’s development. Less than two months ago they thought this was also a bad idea. David needs that school in order to move his project forward.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Existing Conditions


This afternoon, as I headed over to the airport, I happened to get stopped as a CSX train rolled through the grade level rail crossing in Hanover, adjacent to one of the more controversial sites for the proposed intermodal terminal. As I sat there waiting for the train to pass I was reminded that this is already a busy, noisy rail corridor. It's an important factor to consider when weighing the concerns from the neighboring communities. This patch of HoCo has been an established industrial corridor long before people made a decision to live there. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hanover Intermodal Site Gets Favorable Review

Though the officials involved will insist otherwise, it would be hard not to conclude from the current MDOT/CSX public workshops that the proposed Hanover site is the best candidate for the CSX intermodal terminal. All of the four main factors that the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) selection process must take into consideration, the Hanover site has only one negative while the other three sites have at least two. According to Dominic Wiker, the Project Manger for MDOT, none of these individual factors carry any more weight than the others.

The Hanover site has the zoning, is not in a flood plain, contains virtually no wetlands, and does not impact any historic areas or structures. The Beltsville site does not have the zoning, is located in a flood plain and includes a historic area. The Montevideo site has the zoning but also has significant wetlands and is in a flood plain and historic areas. The Jessup site lacks the zoning and is almost all floodplain and wetlands, not to mention the home of an endangered species, the Glassy Darter.

And then there is the cost.

Preliminary analysis has further determined that the Hanover site would be the least costly to develop and not by an insignificant amount. It is estimated to be at least $35 million cheaper than the next lowest cost alternative, Beltsville. According to this story by Kevin Rector in Explore Howard these preliminary cost estimates take into account “a variety of projected expenses, including cost of acquiring land from private owners, the cost of gaining water, electric and utility access, the cost of shifting or relocating existing infrastructure and the cost of mitigating specific environmental concerns…”

The only area where Hanover comes up short of course is proximity to existing homes and some of those homeowners have been trying to get the Hanover site eliminated from consideration. These opponents were somewhat heartened last week when the HoCo school board sent a letter to Beverly Swaim-Staley, the Maryland Secretary of Transportation “strongly” urging her to consider an alternative site. The school board is concerned because they recently approved putting a new middle school just down the road from the Hanover site at Oxford Square. They did this knowing full well that an intermodal terminal in Hanover was a real possibility. It kind of makes you wonder what they were thinking.

In any event, based on what is being presented in the public workshops, the final selection of the intermodal terminal is still a long way off. According to this story by Michael Dresser in The Sun, “Residents who go to the workshops hoping to find clues to the eventual location are likely to be frustrated. Officials at Tuesday's briefing remained studiously neutral about the choices under consideration. Residents who may be concerned about the future of their neighborhoods are unlikely to know the outcome before late next year, when a site choice is expected to be announced.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

New Elkridge Market Opens Tomorrow

As I drove past the Elkridge Corners Shopping Center this afternoon I saw workmen busily putting the final touches on the new Green Valley Market. The new grocery concept store from food wholesaler B. Green is scheduled to open tomorrow morning and, from the outside at least, its looking pretty good.

In fact it looks like the whole shopping center got a bit of a facelift. Nice.

I may actually be in that corner of HoCo again tomorrow so hopefully I’ll get a chance to drop in and check it out.

UPDATE 11/16: Mo over at the Swim Write Run blog provides an opening day report here.