Catonsville Y improvements needed but not at expense of community

Letter to the editor

August 24, 2011

I have been reading that Tom Quirk's position opposing the massive PUD development on the YMCA property may be softening. I was very disappointed to hear this news.

I fully support improvements to the YMCA. Improvements to the Y are long overdue, but we need to keep things in the proper balance, lest we destroy what most of us love about Catonsville.

As I understand it, the YMCA has viable development options that would not require the PUD process.

I also understand that options within the existing zoning designation would provide enough money to finance some very nice improvements to the Y.

Why can't we just, for once, develop property within the existing zoning guidelines?

As for the Rolling Road "improvements" being proposed, I agree the YMCA driveway should be relocated. This can easily be made part of any development plan for the property.

We don't need a huge medical center built to accomplish the relocation of a driveway. Let's not pretend otherwise, please.

The thing I most disliked about Mr. Quirk's predecessor's official actions was that developers always got what they wanted with little regard for what the residents of the area wanted. The original zoning of a property, however appropriate, was always meaningless.

The arguments I'm starting to hear for this medical center at the Y sound a lot like the arguments in favor of the Promenade and other so-called Catonsville improvements.

And please save any arguments related to community input. I've seen how this works — not!

Community input requirements simply mean that one or more meetings must be held, where the community can voice opinions, which are usually objections.

However, there is no requirement that any action be taken or that any change be made as a result of the community input.

Was the community given an opportunity to provide input?

Yes? Check the box and do whatever you wanted in the first place.

That is how community input typically works, in my experience.

The PUD process was originally pitched as something to benefit the community but it's clear to me that PUD has become, in most cases, just another way for developers to make more money than the zoning would otherwise allow, at the expense of the local residents.

I really appreciate Tom Quirk's attempt to put the brakes on the misguided PUD project on Thistle Road.

I was appalled when a Dundalk representative found a way to override his actions. People all over Baltimore County should be outraged at that maneuver.

Patrick Dobson


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