Has David Marks always done what the community wanted? No. But on balance most of his decisions have been good for my community and the other communities he represents. Has he made some mistakes? Yes, but I am hoping he is learning from them.
Carney is currently represented by 3 Councilpersons--District 5 Councilman David Marks, District 6 Councilwoman Cathy Bevins and District 3 Councilman Todd Huff.
The Comprehensive Zoning Map Process (CZMP) can bring out the worst in County Councilpersons. You can really get to see politics in action. Especially the politics of developers and Baltimore County Council representatives.
For example, in my community of Carney one of those really damaging decsion was made during CZMP 2012 by County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. It seems to me that Councilwoman Bevins did not make a good decision and did not afford the older community on East Avenue the common sense protection, a buffer of green space between them and a large commercial business, that new communities enjoy because of legislated protections.
Councilwoman Bevins rezoned to business zoning the buffer of green land that had been protected for 25 years between the residents living on East Avenue and the Mile One Heritage auto conglomerate. A few years ago, the community associations had taken the case to court and successfully protected the buffer. In fact, Arnold Jablon, now back working for Baltimore County government as Director of Permits, Approvals and Inspections, then worked for Venable law firm representing Mile One Heritage. Councilwoman Bevins negated the court victory by her decision. Wonder if we will see fundraiser and/or donations from Mile One to Councilwoman Bevins? Maybe not, but they will be there directly or indirectly e.g., from a political potentate like Jim Smith who was a major campaign contributor to Bevins in her first election.
Now back to the primary reason for this blog.
From the beginning the big issue for Carney was the proposed CVS with JC Barr as the developer. The community of Carney knew it was an uphill battle. The attorneys for the developers contacted the Carney Improvement Association at the beginning of the process and asked to meet with the community. We met with the CVS proponents and the community did not want a CVS to be built at Harford and Joppa Roads primarily because the intersection is a failing intersection.
Councilman Marks was open with the Carney community regarding his CZMP decisions in Carney. Councilman Marks said he would not change the zoning to allow the CVS to be built if there was no money to improve the intersection.
In summer 2012, I got a call from Councilman Marks to tell me that CVS would contribute $880,000 of the $1.3 million needed by Baltimore County Government to move forward on improvements to the intersection at Harford and Joppa Roads.
Councilman Marks came to my home to meet with community members and leaders to explain his rationale for allowing the rezoning the property at the SW corner of Joppa and Harford Roads. He stayed for 2 hours to discuss and answer questions.
I called the SHA project director for the Harford and Joppa Road intersection improvements and had an extensive discussion with her regarding the proposed project including whether the improvements would actually improve the failing intersection. She told me that the improvements would not cure all problems, but would move the intersection rating to a C/D from and E/F SHA rating. (Baltimore County still has the intersection as passing because they use an outdated scoring method from 1968 to enable development to continue to build within the traffic shed!)
In addition, prior to announcing his decision to rezone the property commercial, Councilman Marks required the owners and developers to enter into a notarized covenant with the Carney Improvement Association to make the CVS a better addition to the community. The developers agreed to monumental signs (these are the low signs) only near the entrance and exit. They agreed to leave the rest of the parcel of land undeveloped which preserves some green space at the corner of Joppa and Harford Roads. They also agreed to move (if necessary because of SHA project ) and maintain the Carney sign
However, the reason that I know that Councilman Marks is not in the pocket of the firm that represents developers of Smith, Gildea, Schmidt is because David Marks did not permit a 7-Eleven to be built at Joppa and Magledt Roads, a gateway to the Carney community.
Very late in the summer of 2012, Councilman Marks was told that the commercial business proposed for corner of Joppa and Magledt Roads was a 7-Eleven. (At the time I did not know that the attorney was Gildea.) I only knew who the owner of the property was. It is most distressing is the "sneaky" way that developer an attorney, Gildea, withheld the proposal until almost at the end of the zoning process, in late summer when people are most likely not to be paying attention.
Councilman Marks called me and told me that he was not going to approve building a 7-Eleven at Joppa and Magledt Roads. He did the right thing for the community. I am sure neither the property owner or the development attorney was happy with this CZMP decison.
If it were not for David Marks' forthrightness and community sense, we could have ended up with a 7-Eleven store at a gateway to our Carney community.