Outcry from residents prompts officials to scrap plan for 295-foot Canton high-rise

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August 03, 2005|By Jill Rosen | Jill Rosen,SUN STAFF

After protests from Canton residents, plans to build a 295-foot high-rise on a Lighthouse Point parking lot are off.

Councilman James B. Kraft, who represents the waterfront neighborhood, said that with so much community opposition, he would not introduce a bill that the project needed to proceed.

"It's dead," Kraft said.

Cignal Corp., a Maryland firm known in Southeast Baltimore for upscale residential projects such as the North Shore pier homes, bought an interest this year in Lighthouse Point, a nondescript retail nook sandwiched between Boston Street apartment buildings.

As part of Harbor Marine Center LLC, Cignal wanted to use the site to build a 30-story luxury condominium tower, a 15-story hotel, about 50 townhouses, shops and parking.

To develop the site that heavily, Cignal would have needed a "major amendment" to Lighthouse Point's "planned unit development" - a change granted only by the mayor and City Council.

To place the measure before the council, the bill needed a sponsor. Kraft and Council President Sheila Dixon refused, effectively stymieing the project.

Marco Greenberg, vice president of Cignal, did not return calls yesterday.

Steven Strohl, president of the Canton Community Association, who thought the tower would be out of place in Canton, said yesterday that he and his neighbors are pleased that Kraft heard their objections.

Last week, when Kraft held a community meeting for the developer to discuss the project, none of the 75 or so attendees liked the idea, Strohl said.

"There was not a person in that room supporting that, and it was rather remarkable," said Strohl, who hopes that if the developer comes back with a new proposal it will be smaller, both in height and density.

Baltimore Planning Director Otis Rolley III said that except for townhouses, he thought the proposal sounded like a good move for the area. He said the developer has not mentioned any alternatives.

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