Vote due on Canton high-rise

February 21, 2007|By Jill Rosen | Jill Rosen,Sun reporter

Baltimore's Planning Commission will consider tomorrow a plan to build a waterfront tower in Canton.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the major land-use amendments that Cignal Corp. needs to construct the Icon in what is now a Lighthouse Point parking lot.

The 23-story condo tower would be built atop a five-story parking garage, anchored by about 30,000 square feet of retail space for stores and restaurants.

Despite intense community opposition to the planned high-rise, then-City Council President Sheila Dixon introduced two bills late last year that would pave the way for the project.

The legislation from Dixon, who is now mayor, would grant Cignal what is called a "major amendment" to Lighthouse Point's "planned unit development." That would allow the company to build more on the property than the city had permitted the center's original developer in the 1980s.

To build the 240-foot tower, higher than the permitted 72 feet, the developers also need an amendment to Canton's urban renewal ordinance.

The City Council must approve the plan.

Canton Community Association leaders, who have vehemently protested the Icon, have sent e-mails to members of their organization and neighboring groups, urging people to oppose the project at tomorrow's meeting.

The Icon's critics say they are worried about blocked views and increased traffic on Boston Street.

"There's just too much development going on and not enough planning," Canton Community Association President Darryl Jurkiewicz said yesterday. "Not just in Canton - all along the waterfront."

City planners recently released their vision for Lighthouse Point and a few nearby spots with development potential. Cignal's plan for the Icon meshed almost perfectly with the planners' vision.

The commission meeting is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. at the Planning Department offices, 417 E. Fayette St.

jill.rosen@baltsun.com

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