Catonsville developer outlines community benefits from plan for medical office building

Letter to the editor

November 06, 2011

Rebecca Dongarra ("Donations should not set value of PUD development," Catonsville Times, Nov. 2)

demonstrates, letter after letter, her uncanny addiction to pontificate for paragraphs on end without ever getting the facts right.

For the record, all defined community benefits associated with our Southwest Physicians Pavilion PUD are

specific to our immediate neighborhood.

We propose a quarter million dollars in permanent signalization at Wilkens and Kenwood avenues, one block from our site, to provide traffic management that does not currently exist.

After building completion, traffic conditions should be better than currently, as our professional traffic study

predicts.

We further propose a $100,000 traffic smoothing solution, right next to our property, for the awkward free left

turn onto the Beltway ramp, to do the same thing — manage traffic better than at present.

These issues are unrelated to anticipated traffic from our project; they result from current inadequate highway design, not excessive volume levels.

Fixing neighborhood problems doesn't get any closer to home than these two items.

We're not proposing "sidewalks to the Beltway." We're proposing a connection from the dead-end one in front of the Kenwood Gardens condos to the dead-end stub on Wilkens Avenue.

By joining these two current paths to nowhere, our existing residential neighbors will be able to walk safely to Wilkens Beltway Plaza without venturing out into the roadway.

This request actually came from Kenwood Gardens condo residents.

"24 hour ambulance service?" In our 12-15 hour a day building?

The noise modulation our building provides will reduce existing Beltway sound impacts on our condo neighbors. It has absolutely nothing to do with ambulance activity.

Our donation to Catonsville Rails to Trails is specifically earmarked to connect our immediate neighborhood to the existing CRTT system.

How about our willingness to provide improved handicapped accessibility in the Kenwood Gardens parking

lots?

We also propose 24/7 video security monitoring for the two vehicular access points to their parking lots, at our expense. Is "right across the street" local enough?

I guess Ms. Dongarra has her own definition for "meaningful community benefits," known only to her myriad supporters.

If she thinks this project is "senseless infill development" — on a parcel zoned office for the last 27 years, backing up to the Beltway sound wall and setting right on an existing ramp, of all places — she'd better hone up on Baltimore County Master Plan 2020 and the state's new PlanMaryland.

The only "senseless" I sense are her consistently misleading contentions, totally contradicted by the facts of the matter, whatever the development matter du jour happens to be.

Let's rebut one last time regarding "developer influence," by which Ms. Dongarra loves to allege that Councilman Tom Quirk faced in supporting a LEED-designated, Smart Growth project that received uniformly good reviews from various county agencies.

Whalen Properties gave no money to the councilman in his election campaign. Zero.

That is a matter of public record and just one more ugly Dongarra insinuation, contradicted by the facts.

Stephen Whalen Jr.

Whalen Properties

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