Zoning changes approved Tuesday night appear to pave the way for on the corner of Harford and Joppa Roads.
The decision, unanimously approved by the Baltimore County Council, allows the retailer to build a new store on the southwest corner of Harford and Joppa Roads—an intersection graded failing by the state.
Fifth District Councilman David Marks characterized the decision whether or not to allow the zoning change as the most difficult he had to make during the quadrennial Comprehensive Zoning Map Process.
Ultimately though, Marks decided to recommend the change with a number of stipulations.
In a document explaining the various changes in zoning enacted throughout Carney, Marks wrote that ultimately the came down to two scenarios.
"There were two options: to deny the rezoning request, or to rezone with conditions," he wrote.
In the first, he wrote, the rezoning request would be denied and the developer would sell the property for residential development. Current zoning would allow for 21 townhouses to be built on the property along with an 11-foot tall retaining wall. The intersection of Harford and Joppa Roads would be improved but at a higher cost and likely not for another 6 years.
The second, he wrote, was that the zoning change was approved and built. Under that scenario, the intersection could be upgraded by 2014 or 2015, he wrote.
"Looking at these two options, the easiest, most popular choice would be to deny the rezoning, but that would be a short-term, feel-good decision. It was not the wisest choice," Marks wrote, adding that it was time to fix the intersection.
As part of the decision to support the rezoning request Marks said he required the developer to consult with the Carney Improvement Association on landscaping and signage, and maintain 2 acres of the property as open space. The developer will also contribute between $880,000 and $1 million dollars toward the cost of the intersection improvement project.
Carney Improvement Association president Meg O'Hare said Marks worked with the community to make an "unwanted commercial development the best it could be."
O'Hare credited Marks with working with association board members to put together a formal agreement with the site developer J.C. BAR and the property owners.
"It's a situation where, when life gives you lemons ... you make lemonade," O'Hare said.
Marks, who campaigned on fixing the intersection of Harford and Joppa Roads, seized the opportunity to do so during the rezoning process, O'Hare said.
"I personally think David Marks did a good job for Carney and for his whole district. He listens to the people who are his constituents," she said. "He may not be able to do what the community thinks is the ultimate good but he tries to do good because he was a community leader and he doesn't forget where he came from."
During the rezoning process, Marks also reduced the zoning on 79 acres of property in the Carney area including a parcel of land that he said had been targeted for development by 7-Eleven near the corner of Joppa and Magledt Roads.
You can find a .pdf where David Marks explains zoning changes in the Carney area attached to this article. A map illustrating the location of zoning issues in the Fifth District is also attached.
"I think I made the best possible decision," Marks said. "When you look at the overall record, in the Carney area I downzoned 79 acres and upzoned 2. That's pretty good."