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Kamenetz Vetoes Controversial Transit Oriented Development Bill

Bill "contravenes 50 years of regulation" and "is simply not good public policy," according to county executive.

UPDATED (6:03 p.m.)—A controversial bill that granted exemptions to the Metro Centre at Owings Mills project will be vetoed, according to County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

The veto is Kamenetz's first since taking office in December 2010.

The bill passed unanimously Monday by the Baltimore County Council was amended to protect the proposed redevelopment of the Owings Mills Mall and Solo Cup.

Some of the amendments, sponsored by Council Chairwoman Vicki Almond and Councilwoman Cathy Bevins granted from placing additional requirements on the Mall and Solo Cup project known as Foundry Row. Parts of the original bill were also thought to be problematic.

Almond said late Thursday afternoon that she does not expect that the council will attempt to override the veto.

"That would not be my recommendation at this point," Almond said, adding that she would vote against such an attempt.

"My immediate reaction is, after reading it a couple of times, is that the county executive seems to be sending a clear message that the regulatory process and public input are more important than anything," Almond said.

The council passed the bill unanimously to pass the bill Monday night. Five votes are needed to override Kamenetz's veto.

Don Mohler, a spokesman for Kamenetz, said the county executive believes the current development process "serves the county well."

"It allows the public to have input and the county to impose certain conditions," Mohler said. "[Kamenetz] didnt think that this bill moves the county in a direction it ought to move."

Kamenetz, in a statement, said those amendments went too far:

"I am vetoing Council Bill 43-12 because it contravenes fifty years of regulation that mandates public input and government review of development projects in Baltimore County," Kamenetz said in a statement released Thursday afternoon.  "The existing County review process allows consideration of impacts to traffic management and authorizes imposition of conditions to minimize negative impacts.  Significantly altering a process that has served the County well over the years is simply not good public policy."

Councilman Ken Oliver, in a Thursday afternoon interview, said he had only just become aware of the veto and was not prepared to comment.

Oliver was the lead sponsor on the bill.

After the  council vote Monday, Almond called the bill the.

"The amendments were for the purpose of allowing future development around this TOD site and to make Owings Mills, which is partly mine and Councilman Oliver's the best that it can possibly be," Almond said Monday night. "This is our last chance to get it right.

"White Marsh went ahead and grew and prospered and Owings Mills did not. Now we have a chance to let that happen. I hope this council can come together to see that all these developments happen and prosper."

Almond said late Thursday that she now will ask the council to delay any attempts to resurrect the bill until after the Planning Board completes its study of transit oriented development issues and makes its recommendations in October.

"I say we leave it alone and come up with a really good piece of legislation after we get the Planning Board recommendations," Almond said.

ReisterstownMAN July 06, 2012 at 10:19 AM
I say build the WEGMANS and have the other projects go on also.
Theresa Hall July 06, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Oh my Lord, I hope you are being sarcastic....
John July 06, 2012 at 12:36 PM
After the way the York Way project in Dundalk was hanled by Olszewski for one of his friends, I do not trust him to represent the publics best interest.
Chuck Burton July 06, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Why is Owings Mills divided betweeen two councillmanic districts, in the first place? That is no way to handle a "growth area".
Mike Toohey July 07, 2012 at 12:10 AM
Awsome, Now shut down the metro and get the Bus line out of the Reistestown area and we will be in business.

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