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25th Street Station, Come Hell Or High Stormwater

25th Street Station, Come Hell Or High Stormwater

Walmart Storm Drain at Baltimore Port Covington Shopping Center

For residents involved in legislation regarding the proposed 25th Street Station, the process has been a disappointing one.  There was the promise “this is not a done deal”, but during community presentations by the developers, the tone was one of “Here’s what we’ve done” rather than “Here’s what we can do for you”. Communication from District 7 Councilwoman Belinda Conaway, where the 25th Street Station project is proposed, has been poor. Residents living within a walkable distance of the site, but whose locale is not named “Remington”, have been deemed persona non grata by the councilmember and ignored. And finally, site plan concerns raised about the complex fell on deaf ears at the Planning Commission hearing on August 5th.  After four-plus hours of testimony, the commission voted unanimously, without deliberation, to approve zoning changes and move the project forward.

With this in mind, there is an urgent need in the 11th hour to bring attention to an issue that has received little scrutiny. The primary Environmental Site Design feature for the 11-acre site, the green roof atop Walmart, is insufficient to satisfy current local and state laws regarding sustainable development.  As a result the project appears to be failing in its methods for Stormwater Management under current law.

Stormwater management is an especially important concern for development within close proximity to our waterways and, in particular here, the Chesapeake Bay.  Stormwater runoff is generated when rain and snowmelt flows over impervious surfaces and is not filtered by the earth.   Runoff collects debris, chemicals, sediment and pollutants and transports it directly, unfiltered, to stormdrains and the nearest waterways.  The design plan for the 25th Street Station includes paving over the majority of the 11 acre site and does not appear to contain enough pervious surface area to adequately manage stormwater runoff under the current law.

This issue was brought up at the August 5th Planning Commission hearing, but was disregarded out of hand on the basis that the project had been “grandfathered” into the old requirements.  While it is true that provisions exist for the Maryland 2007 Stormwater Management Act where waivers can be administered by local agencies to projects that have received preliminary approval, but have yet to be realized, the 25th Street Station is not appropriate to be considered for such a waiver.

The development team was well aware of the 2007 stormwater law when they created their project’s design.  The lawyer for the project, Jon Laria, is the Chair of the Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland and has conducted forums on stormwater management.  On September 2nd Laria was also appointed Chair of the Maryland Sustainable Growth Commission.  You would think that Mr. Laria would aid the developers in creating a model sustainable project for the City of Baltimore.  Instead he appears to be using his expertise to help his team skirt the law.

When a copy of the Stormwater Management Waiver was requested from the Baltimore Department of Public Works, the DPW responded that this project does not have an approved waiver and to date a waiver has not been requested.

Waiver or no Waiver, by not adhering to current stormwater management standards, this project is not “LEED certifiable” as required by Baltimore Green Building Standards.  According to the United States Green Building Council LEED 2009 minimum requirements, new construction “must comply with applicable federal, state, and local building-related environmental laws and regulations in place where the project is located.”

The last hope for resolution of this issue is at the September 15th Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing.  Hopefully Committee members will require compliance of current stormwater regulations and LEED certification for the passing of the PUD for the 25th Street Station.  Otherwise they will be an accomplice in rendering the developers immune to current city and state environmental regulations.

Port Covington Stormwater Filter: Rocks On A Gutter

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Remington Walmart Traffic Study Is Out- The Search For Missing Cars Begins

Remington 25th Street Station Traffic Study Released- The Search For Missing Cars Begins

The ‘Draft’ Traffic Impact Study (TIS) for the proposed 25th Street Station big box development project in Remington was recently released and area residents are raising a lot of concerns.  The most intriguing of which might be -What’s the deal with the missing cars?

On the new site EXIT 6, a campaign initiated by residents of Remington to deal with issues raised from the proposed 25th Street Station development and traffic, the question is asked, “Who can solve this mystery?The Lost Cars of Huntingdon Avenue”.

Apparently, according to the study, cars entering the area via Huntingdon Avenue actually disappear, rather than accumulate, making it something akin to the Bermuda Triangle.  Recent posts on the EXIT 6 site related to the missing cars and other concerns provide interesting commentary on the study.  To check out EXIT 6, CLICK HERE.

Other community issues that have been raised about the traffic study include the observation that no dates and times of car counts are provided, the unsubstantiated assumption that 25% of shoppers will walk, bike, or take the bus to the site, the lack of projections for rush hour, Saturdays and holidays and the fact that the information is inconsistent with other Baltimore area Lowes and Walmart stores.

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Post Update: In an analysis of the traffic study done by the Mobtown Shank, it is reported that traffic will increase 129 times from what it is now in the area on weekends.  For more information, CLICK HERE.

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Do You Have Concerns About The Proposed 25th Street Station Big Box Development

Do You Have Concerns About The Proposed 25th Street Station Big Box Development?

Bmore Local, a coalition for smarter development, will be on hand this weekend to meet with area residents who have concerns about the proposed 25th Street Station development project for Remington.

Tonight, Bmore Local, and their friends at Howl, are hosting a free outdoor screening of CNBC’s “The New Age Of Walmart”.  The event will begin at 7:30, with discussion hosted by Wake Up Walmart, followed promptly by the free screening of this must-see film.

On Sat. and Sun. the group will have a booth at the Charles Village Festival.  You can stop by and discuss your concerns, find out how you can get involved and sign a petition for the inclusion of their 13 Points in city legistlastion.



Vote On The 24hr Wal-Mart Store Proposed For Remington

The Baltimore Sun Is Asking For Your Vote On The 24hr Wal-Mart Proposed For Remington

Cities in Japan such as Tokyo and Kyoto have recently proposed policy plans to request 24-hour businesses to cut hours in a bid to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  Earlier this year the Environment Agency, the UK’s equivalent to our Environmental Protection Agency, introduced rules forcing businesses to switch off lights and displays at night to meet new carbon reduction limits.  Here in Baltimore, however, the latest wannabe green project, 25th Street Station, is inserting into a PUD (Planned Unit Development) a request for 24-hour operations at the site.  The developers are requesting that the PUD be submitted Monday, April 19th to the Baltimore City Council.  You be the judge for what is best for a sustainable Baltimore.

CLICK HERE  to check out the Baltimore Sun Article, 24-hour Walmart in Baltimore: should city officials allow it? -and vote!

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Email your thoughts to Belinda Conaway, the Baltimore City Council Member who would be submitting the PUD: Belinda.Conaway@baltimorecity.gov

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Port Covington Wal-Mart: A Case Study In Pictures

Port Covington Wal-Mart: A Case Study In Pictures

On Feb. 24, 2010, an article in The Daily Record announced that Wal-Mart was planning to join the 25th Street Station development project in Remington.  Senior manager Rhonda Washington stated that it was “so consistent with where Baltimore is headed as far as the green movement”.  Baltidome visited the existing Wal-Mart shopping center in Port Covington to see how the retailer was fitting into the Cleaner Greener Baltimore initiative.  The following pictures were taken in March 2010.

Former Sam's Club

In 2002, the Port Covington shopping center opened to a “robust welcome” with a Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club and a zoning plan to include Staples, Party City, Modell’s and Dress Barn.  The other stores never moved in and in 2007, Sam’s Club closed. Wal-Mart now sits alone at the end of the peninsula on the abandoned project site.

Related Articles:
Baltimore Sun, Wal-Mart comes to the city,  7/09/2001
Baltimore Business Journal, Center of controversy: Why Port Covington failed as a retail mecca, 3/9/2007

No Walmart In Remington Petition

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