Green Spring Station battle to resume About 50 residents hope to delay building project

August 13, 1998|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

About 50 residents of communities that surround Green Spring Station in Lutherville hope to persuade Baltimore County bureaucrats today to delay approval of an eight-story building at the busy complex.

The building, planned by Foxleigh Enterprises at Falls and Greenspring Valley roads, includes five levels of parking, three stories of offices and 30,000 square feet of retail space.

The project would be built on the site of what is now a 250-space parking lot between two retail buildings and the Greenspring Racquet Club.

But residents believe traffic will worsen when schools open and the widening of the Baltimore Beltway between Pikesville and Towson is completed this fall.

They are hoping to persuade the County Review Group, made up of county public works and planning officials, to wait until then to complete a traffic count at the busy intersection.

Jim Tebay, spokesman for a coalition of eight community associations in Ruxton and the Green Spring Valley, said residents fear the developments could attract up to 4,000 new commuters to the area that draws 25,000 vehicles a day. "It's a big battle for our area," said Tebay, who plans to present petitions with hundreds of signatures to the review group.

Residents also are awaiting results of tests by county engineers that will determine sewage capacity at Green Spring Station, which also could also affect further development there, he said.

Herb Fredeking, president of Foxleigh Enterprises, said he opposes any delay.

"We think that the answers to the questions have been handed down over the past two months; we see no reason for delay," he said. "We think we comply. The county has said the intersection [is] acceptable. We don't think the amount of traffic we'd introduce into the area will alter that."

The Foxleigh development is one of two projects proposed for the prime location near the Beltway and Ineterstate 83 -- and the gateway to the Green Spring Valley, an exclusive area protected from development by highly restrictive agricultural zoning.

In May, developer Howard Brown and William Hirshfeld, owner of the 22-year-old Greenspring Racquet Club, announced they were seeking approval to raze the racquet club and build two office buildings totaling 242,000 square feet and a parking deck.

The planned developments would have a "psychological and visual impact" on the lifestyle of residents in Meadows subdivision, says Tebay's wife, Jean.

"Our back yard currently serves as a nature preserve for deer, foxes, rabbits and many varieties of birds and other fauna," she said. "We came here several years ago because we wanted a tranquil setting in which to enjoy our retirement years."

Jim Tebay said he is planning to distribute buttons that read "No Tysons Corner Here," a reference to the 1970s development of a cornfield in Fairfax County, Va., that mushroomed into a business and retail hub that draws 55,800 vehicles daily.

"Tysons Corner is a good example not to follow," said Jack Dillon, director of the Valleys Planning Council, a land preservation group that opposes the Green Spring Station development plans.

Pub Date: 8/13/98

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