Tuesday, February 10, 2015

ODNA Response to Foundry Station Development Plans

Thanks to those who came out to the McDonalds this past Saturday to review the plans for the re-development of the Seagrams site.  Of the biggest concerns is the proposed density of homes on the property.  ODNA will be attending the Community Input Meeting this evening (Feb 10th) at 6:30pm at the North Point Library to represent the Old Dundalk Neighborhood, but all are encouraged to attend and provide input on this development.

In addition, ODNA has addressed the all of the concerns we have concerning the development to John Vontran in the following letter sent on February 10, 2015:

Mr. John Vontran
Sollers Investors, LLC

RE:      Foundry Station PUD
            7101 Sollers Point Road

Dear Mr. Vontran:

    Old Dundalk Neighborhood Association (O.D.N.A.) received a revised concept plan for the proposed townhouse development on January 30, 2015.  This latest plan proposes 187 townhouses instead of the 194 units originally proposed.

O.D.N.A. made this plan available for review by all interested members on February 7, 2015 in anticipation of the February 10th Community Input Meeting.  While we appreciate your openness during the development process, our members, who live in the immediate vicinity of this project and reviewed the latest plan, still have the following concerns regarding its design and potential effect on the community:

  • The density, while 7 units less than originally shown, still seems excessive in terms of lack of open space, traffic generation, impact on schools, and aesthetics. A reduction of the 187 proposed townhouses to about 160 units would still exceed the 132 units allowed under existing zoning regulations by more than 20%, and would only be a 14% reduction of the current 187 proposed.  Additionally, it would allow reasonable development of the site while better blending with the surrounding houses, most of which are single family detached dwellings (SFDs).  Finally in this regard, this reduction of density would provide more room to meet the County’s road standards and storm water management (SWM) requirements. 

  • While we prefer that all of the units be no less than 20 feet wide, we would be amenable to a mix of unit sizes (including a minority of 16-foot wide units) that meet County requirements and provide more open space while still yielding more lots than allowed by current zoning. Larger, more expensive townhouses could be built to partially offset the loss of the smaller units.  Furthermore, we are requesting of Baltimore County by copy of this letter that they not allow the townhouses to be built in rows longer than typically permitted by the development regulations and to disapprove a layout showing exclusively 16-foot wide dwelling units.

  • According to County comments, the proposed layout does not meet Fire Department standards for turnaround of their emergency vehicles (let alone trash trucks).  This must obviously be rectified in the redesign of the project.

  • The layout also does not meet residential transition area (RTA) standards.  Although not specified on the plan, it is apparent that a waiver to the RTA requirements is being requested given that the townhouses are as close as 40 feet to neighboring SFDs on Tyler Road.  Mitigation must be provided to minimize the impact of the dense townhouse development on those SFD residents.

  • 0.25 acre of open space for a 12.1-acre intensely developed site (i.e. 2% open space) is insufficient.  We acknowledge that the site abuts an existing County ball field complex; however, much more passive open space is needed within the development. Therefore, we will not oppose your waiver request to the active open space requirement; however, we would like to see a total of at least 60,000 square feet (1.38 acres) of passive open space spread across the 12.1 acres. It should be noted that 1.54 acres (67,000 square feet) of passive open space are required by County standards.

  • The community benefit that O.D.N.A. would like this development to provide is the design and construction of Veteran’s Park renovations to deter vagrants and crime and attract desirable merchants to Dundalk Village Shopping Center. We believe the recent market study of Dundalk sponsored by the DRC outlines general objectives and concepts of this renovation.  To the Baltimore County representatives, we do not support any payment to the County of a fee in lieu of community benefit unless there are legal safeguards that the money will be spent exclusively on the aforementioned park renovations or other community benefit that is actually in the immediate community (not elsewhere in greater Dundalk). 

  • SWM has also not been adequately addressed according to Baltimore County’s EPS comments on the concept plan.  It stands to reason that reducing the number of units and impervious area will require less SWM and that more room would be available to provide any SWM facilities required.

In summary, O.D.N.A. welcomes development of the site, but in a manner that is more consistent with the character of the neighborhood.  Specifically, more open space onsite, a mix of townhouse sizes, of which no more than 50% would be 16 feet wide, better traffic circulation, mitigation of impacts to neighboring residential properties, and all public safety requirements fully met.  Moreover, we want a community benefit that directly improves the immediate neighborhood as described above.

Thank you for considering these concerns and comments.  We hope that they are implemented through the design and construction of the site.  If you have any questions regarding these comments, please feel free to contact the Old Dundalk Neighborhood Association.

Sincerely yours,
Glenn Shaffer, Vice President

Hon. Todd Crandall, Councilman-7th District
Ms. Amy Menzer, Dundalk Renaissance Corporation
Mr. Jan Cook, Permit Approvals & Inspections
Ms. Lynn Lanham, Office of Panning
O.D.N.A Website

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Seagrams / Foundry Station Plans Available to View on February 7th

ODNA received a copy of the development plans (large architectural type drawings)  and the county review of the Seagrams – Foundry Station re-development project. 

On Saturday, February 7th from 8am to 10 am ODNA will make the plans available to anyone who wants to see them at the McDonald’s on Dundalk Ave.

The Community Input meeting on the project is Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 6:30pm at the North Point Public Library.  This meeting is open to everyone!

Questions - email us at olddundalk@gmail.com

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Meeting Notes - January 14, 2015

ODNA Meeting Notes
January 14, 2015

Dumpster Day is set for Saturday, April 18, 2015 from 7am to Noon.  The dumpsters will be on the parking lot across from the Chruch of the Brethern at the corner of Shipway and Yorkway.
· We will check with DRC to see about tying into any Earth Week activities they may be planning.
· Officer Mussini has requested volunteers from JOINS program to assist us in cleaning up along Dundalk Avenue that same day.

We discussed the broken windows at the Dundalk Historical Society.  We agreed to make a $100 donation to the help the Historical Society with repairs.

Officer Mussini discussed the incident at the Historical Society and the issues at the Village Center in general.  In 2014, there were 1200 calls for service in this area.  The county will soon be deploying 3 (three) “PODS” or Portable Observation Devices to the Village Center / Veterans Park area.  The PODS are identified as belonging to BCPD, are monitored 24 hours a day, provided a 360 view.  It’s hoped that the PODS will discourage criminal activity, as well as,  allowing to the BCPD to better monitor the area and identify those individuals causing trouble.

Bryan Shepherd (our Baltimore County Rep from K. Kamenetz’ office) discussed:
· Working with the BCPD, local residents, business owners and the MTA to remove the bus stop at the corner of Shipway and Dundalk Ave directly across from the Royal Farms.  This bus stop was a well-known trouble spot.  Those seeking to use the bus from the Village Center can do so at the stop located between Center Place and Dunmanway.
· There is some sewer line work taking place on Dundalk Ave as you head south toward Turners Station, as the circle – FYI
· The county is very excited about the new owners of the former Beth Steel area, Sparrows Point Terminal part of Redwood Capital Development.  Sparrows Point Terminal has been reaching out and contacting local community groups about the redevelopment of the site. 

ODNA received an email announcing an MDE & EPA Public Outreach meeting on Sparrows Point on Feburary 26, 2015 at the North Point Public Library from 6 to 8pm.  This meeting is open to everyone.

News about Seagrams:
· Glenn spoke with John Vontran regarding the position letter we sent in November 2014.  Glenn re-iterated our concerns about density, lack of open space and storm water management.  He also reviewed our request of community benefit to be the upgrading / redesign of Veterans Park.
· The next community input meeting on the project, called Foundry Station, is Tuesday, February 10, 2015 at 6:30pm at the North Point Public Library.  This meeting is open to all.
· ODNA received a copy of the development plan and county review of the project.  If you wish to read the county review or see the development plans, please email olddundalk@gmail.com and I will send a copy to you. 

Our next meeting is scheduled for March 11, 2015, 7pm in the Dundalk Community Center.

Becky Terjung, President ODNA

Thursday, December 11, 2014

With much sadness, I learned this week about the passing of longtime member and friend, Alice Fogle.  Over the years, Alice was a constant presence at all our meeting and events, most recently helping at the Fall Family Fun Festival this past October.  I know we will miss her support and willingness to help, but we will miss her warm smile and genuine heart much more.

Becky Terjung
President, ODNA

(see the Dundalk Eagle or Baltimore Sun for her obituary notice)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

ODNA Meeting Minutes - November 12, 2014

Officer Mussini reported:
  • Some good news! Over the last two months there have been few calls for service in our area for things like theft, burglaries, vandalism, etc.  
  • There has been a “group” hanging out at the Dundalk Village Center causing problems.  The police have been working with Blue Ocean (the property owners), merchants and the DRC to address this problem.  In addition, Blue Ocean has hired security guards.
  • With the cold weather, car thefts in the area tend to rise as people begin letting their cars warm up.  Don’t leave your car running to warm it up, even if it’s locked!  It’s very easy for car thieves to break in, then drive off in your car.
  • Lighting! Lighting! Lighting!  It only costs a couple of dollars a year using a cfl light bulb to leave your porch light on all night.  Criminals don’t like lighted porches or backyards.  If you need a cfl bulb for your porch or back yard light, contact ODNA at olddundalk@gmail.com  and we will get one to you.

Glenn presented the “position paper” on the redevelopment of the Seagrams property from ODNA he has been working on.   Among the items addressed are the density of the housing units, the small amount of green space and storm water management.   Part of the project includes $100,000 for a community benefit.  We discussed proposing a “make over” for Veterans Park, with the idea to make the park more inviting for all users, and less inviting for those who just want to loiter and cause trouble.  Ideas included a new, more open, lighted gazebo; moving the benches to the perimeter of the park; thinning the trees and making the landscape more open to creating less places to hide and more visibility of the shops from Dundalk Ave. 

December 6th is the Holiday Hoopla at the Dundalk Village Center

December 19th, ODNA will be again participating in “Luminary Night” sponsored by the Dundalk Historical Society.  We will be placing luminaries on the Shipway side of Heritage park.  We need just a couple of volunteers to help with setting up and collecting the luminaries after the event.  Interested?  Email me at olddundalk@gmail.com

Also discussed:
  • We will be holding a Spring Dumpster Day in April to coordinate with Earth Week.  More details to come.
  • How can we better communicate and promote ODNA?  How can we attract more members?  Ideas included sending a mailing or just leaving flyers at each house.  Breaking the neighborhood up and finding “block captains” to spread the word, recruit new members, encourage participation.  Partnering with other groups in the area like the DRC, the Dun-Logan group to pool our resources. 
  • Other projects we’d like to tackle including getting some better lighting throughout the neighborhood, getting numbers on the back of houses.

What do you think - Send your ideas and comments to olddundalk@gmail.com.

Our next meeting is January 14, 2015 at 7pm in the Dundalk Community Center!  

Becky Terjung, President