County Councilman David Marks has released a statement his opposition to converting the Old Sears building in White Marsh Mall into an apartment complex.
“I inherited three major land use challenges after taking office: the potential development of the C.P. Crane plant in Bowleys Quarters, the proposed warehouse project at the Lafarge Quarry in Middle River, and a plan for hundreds of apartments at White Marsh Mall. We have been working to address all three issues.
I want to make it very clear—I oppose making the White Marsh Town Center a sea of apartments. Here is what we are going to do to stop that scenario.
First, we need to develop a vision for the White Marsh Town Center. Even before I had taken office as Councilman for the area, our office has assembled a task force to look at White Marsh’s future. Yes, White Marsh Mall is aging—but there are good signs. The Avenue bursts with energy everywhere, and the fact that developers want to invest in the town center is very promising. The worst possible outcome for White Marsh would be an empty mall, as we see throughout the United States.
The task force completed a survey that recorded hundreds of comments from local residents, and it will help form the basis for what I hope will be a plan for reinvestment, development, and deign standards in the Town Center. I would like to thank Chairman Pat Keller and all the members for their work.
Second, we will reform the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance so it becomes a proper tool for regulating development. These apartments will impact Overlea High School, one of the most overcrowded schools in the northeast.
Third, I will not hesitate to use the rezoning process—which starts this summer—to block apartments throughout the White Marsh Town Center. Rezoning can eliminate projects based upon where they are in the approval process.
You have my word I will do all I can to ensure that any new housing is as limited as possible and reflects good planning principles that enhance the White Marsh Town Center. There will be a Community Input Meeting for one of the projects on Tuesday, July 18 at 7 p.m. at the Community Christian Church, 8009 Corporate Drive. Please stay informed through upcoming newsletters and my Facebook posts.”