Towson site for storing salt is opposed

December 10, 1997|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

Community leaders fear that a planned salt-storage barn at a prominent Towson corner will mar the appearance of a major entrance to the business district -- and is a misuse of prime property.

They also question why the county bypassed its own review board, which recommended that the barn not be put at York Road and Bosley Avenue. The panel called the location "incompatible" with the neighborhood.

"The county ignored its own advisory panel," said Wayne Skinner, planning board member. "The issue is the general appearance of the whole area."

But county officials maintain that the role of the architectural board is only advisory. They say a Towson site is needed to provide better snow clearance around the county seat. Salt trucks travel from a North Baltimore County facility that is being sold.

"We've been maintaining Towson from Cockeysville," said Charles R. "Bob" Olsen, county public works director. "This puts the maintenance facility and salt right in the middle of Towson."

The 40-foot-by-60-foot salt barn with a gambrel roof is set to be built on county-owned land behind the Baltimore County fire station. Groundbreaking is expected in the spring and the cost is estimated at $250,000.

The barn will be painted red and have a gray roof and will have a capacity of 1,500 tons of salt.

"Looks are one of our concerns," said Stephen J. Nolan, president of Towson Development Corp., who is scheduled to meet with Towson Republican Councilman Douglas B. Riley about the issue tomorrow. The group "also is concerned about that type of use at what is a gateway."

Riley, who supports the salt barn site, dismissed concerns about the visual impact.

Besides salt storage, about 30 pieces of snow-removal equipment -- including trucks, front-end loaders and tractors -- also will be on-site. Some residents worry about disruption from that equipment. Arnold F. "Pat" Keller III, county planning director, said the surrounding roads provide adequate access.

Several community members said they don't think a salt barn is the best use of the valuable Towson property.

"Is the county using prime, developable land in Towson for a lesser use?" asked Skinner. "There's been no thought about landscaping and compatibility."

Pub Date: 12/10/97

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