Towson Row development raises community concerns

By: Nilo Exar, Staff Writer

Caves Valley Partners held a town hall-style event at the Sheppard Pratt Hospital Conference Center to gauge public sentiment over the planned Towson Row project last week.

The development, expected to be completed in May 2018, includes a Whole Foods, hotel, student dorm housing, apartment housing and other smaller retail locations that add up to 1,654,740 square feet, not including the 145,000 square feet for underground parking. It will have Chesapeake Avenue to the north, Towsontown Boulevard to the south, York Road to the east and Washington Avenue to the west.

The development would feature 1,435 total parking spaces, including underground and ground level garages. Parking became a topic of contention in the town hall, with many residents worried that there would be a lack of parking and that the prospect of student residents having to pay for parking might force them to park in Towson residential neighborhoods, where parking would be free or cheaper.

“The thing that I don’t think we’ll get relief from is parking, student parking,” Mary-Carol Bruff, president of the Aigburth Manor Association, said.

Each student dorm will have one parking space per every four beds, and each regular residence will have 1.25 spaces for every apartment.

The issue of “green space” in the development was also stressed, with many Towson residents worrying that there will be no place for both college students and the families of the residences to play outside.

The Caves Valley spokesmen countered by saying that there will be internal amenities, such as rec rooms and music rooms. According to Caves Valley, there will be 374,000 feet of “green space.”

Traffic congestion and the impending development’s impact on that was also brought up to an extent at the town hall.

Caves Valley Partners said that there was a traffic impact study in progress and that its details would be shared at a meeting that would be held later.

Paul Hartman, the immediate past president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, brought up the point that traffic in the area is already congested and the nearby intersection at Burke Avenue and York Road is categorized as “failing,” when all the cars have trouble making it through the light.

“If you can’t get through a light, it’s failing. How much will this contribute to more [congestion?]” Hartman said.

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