Filed under: News, Remington 25th Street Station | Tags: Baltimore Green, Baltimore Walmart, Jon Laria, Martin O'Malley, Remington 25th Street Station
Is The Baltimore City Council Going To Vote On An Illegal PUD?
On November 8th the Baltimore City Council is expected to vote to amend the Planned Unit Development (PUD) for the Walmart-anchored 25th Street Station development proposed for the Remington neighborhood of Baltimore. There have been many concerns raised by residents about the impending development over the past several months, and while some concerns have been addressed, many have not.
One of the outstanding issues of the 25th Street Station development is the proposed project’s status as it relates to current state Stormwater Management Law. Concern was raised at the August 5th Planning Commission hearing that the project appears not to comply with the Stormwater Management Act enacted by the state of Maryland in 2007.
So, why wouldn’t the proposed development comply with current law? To explain, one must understand that there is a considerable amount of green space currently on the property of the proposed development, a rarity in Baltimore City. Under the plan for the 25th Street Station, this open land will be covered and “replaced” with a green roof and small islands of greenery about the development. While a green roof can indeed be an effective sustainability feature of a building, it simply can not be compared as apples to apples when replacing permeable open land.
The developers have yet to justify how the 25th Street Station would not be creating more stormwater runoff than exists on the already developed property, a requirement of the 2007 Stormwater Management Act. Stormwater runoff is generated when rain and snowmelt flows on solid surfaces, collects debris, chemicals, sediment and pollutants and transports them directly, unfiltered, to the nearest waterways. The result can be harmful to the environment and the new Stormwater Law aims to stop this byproduct thoughtless development.
No justification has had to be made by the developers for their seeming disregard of the law, however. The Baltimore City Planning Department o.k’d the project under the presumption that it had been “grandfathered” into the old Maryland Stormwater Management requirements. After the hearing, when residents requested the waiver that is needed for a project to be grandfathered, the Baltimore City Department of Public Works responded by stating that the project does not have an approved waiver and a waiver had not been requested.
The fact that a waiver is being discussed at all is a disgrace given that Jon Laria, the attorney who represents the development team, was recently appointed Chair of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission. It should also be mentioned that Jon Laria is the leading contributor to the O’Malley campaign.
If the 25th Street Station development is granted a waiver then it will not be “LEED certifiable” as required by Baltimore Green Building Standards. According to LEED requirements, construction “must comply with applicable federal, state, and local building-related environmental laws and regulations in place where the project is located.”
So, will the Baltimore City Council vote on a PUD that does not comply with current law? – We’ll see.
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