HarborView expansion bid gains support

Council committee backs 26-story tower, other plans despite community concerns

June 06, 2008|By John Fritze | John Fritze,Sun reporter

A prominent Key Highway development could expand after years of delay - and despite community concerns - under a zoning proposal advanced by a City Council committee last night.

The legislation would allow HarborView's developer, Richard A. Swirnow, to build a 26-story tower, and also to proceed on an adjacent 17-story building west of the high-rise on the site.

At a lengthy hearing before the Urban Affairs and Aging Committee yesterday, proponents argued that design on the towers was the best HarborView had put forward for the project because it preserved greater views and access to the water.

"It's been a long, long time in coming," said Frank Wise, vice president of HarborView Properties Development Co. "We do have an immense financial burden."

The committee voted, 3-1, in favor of the change, advancing the proposal to the full council for a vote this month. City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke was the lone vote against the bill.

Residents from Federal Hill and the Riverside Neighborhood Association spoke out against moving forward on the bill - arguing that it was a further privatization of a waterfront that has been giving way to development for years.

Baltimore planning officials have mapped out a vision for the area that includes a stylish waterfront park at the end of Webster Street, but residents said they are concerned that the concept has not been secured by zoning law.

"There are no guarantees that the vision will become a reality," said Paul Robinson, president of the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association.

Opponents pressed City Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector to abstain from voting because she lives part time at HarborView with her boyfriend. Spector was cleared to vote by the city's ethics board in part because she does not own property at the site.

The proposal will be up for a procedural vote before the full council Monday. If passed, it could move on for final approval this month.


Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.