Councilman wants to postpone Towson Row vote | WYPR

Councilman wants to postpone Towson Row vote

Dec 18, 2017

 

Towson Row site
Credit John Lee

The controversial plan to use tax money to help finance the Towson Row project is scheduled for a vote at Monday night's Baltimore County Council meeting. But the councilman who represents Towson plans to call for a postponement of that vote.

 

 

Councilman David Marks said he found out about the proposal via a press release the day after Thanksgiving. That’s the day, Marks said, people are most distracted. He called it a “cute maneuver” by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

 

“We’ve been spending all of our time since then trying to get answers to questions and I don’t think that was the most open and transparent way of doing this,” Marks said.

 

Marks said he will call for a delay to get more answers.

 

A sticking point for Marks is a proposal that the county give the developer a $16.4 million grant tied to future hotel tax collections. He said he would prefer that to be a loan.

 

Administration officials said the agreement with the developer wasn’t reached until the day before Thanksgiving and that the documents were sent to the Council within hours to comply with its legislative deadlines.

 

Plans for the $350 million Towson Row include a hotel, as well as retail stores, offices, apartments and student housing. Officials expect it to be a transfomational project for Towson. But at a council meeting last week, a number of county residents said they object using tax money for a private development.

 

Marks said he wants the county to give the developer some sort of assistance, but is concerned abut the speed in which the project is making its way through the council. So far, two of the seven council members, Tom Quirk and Julian Jones, say they support the proposal on the table.