The measure, introduced by County Councilman
The long-awaited development near the Metro station will feature the county's largest library branch, a community college center, office and retail space, a hotel and 1,700 residential units. The Metro Centre at Owings Mills broke ground in 2011 after years of delays.
As introduced, the bill also would exempt the project from regulations on the height and areas of its buildings. Oliver said he plans an amendment that he hopes will ease concerns by adding some limitations.
At a County Council meeting last week, Councilwoman
"Are there any checks and balances for this project?" the Middle River Democrat asked.
Cheryl Aaron of the Greater Greenspring Association told the council her community was "incredibly concerned about the lack of restrictions."
"It's a very dangerous precedent to set," Aaron said after the meeting. "From that point of view, every community in every district should be concerned."
The county planning board is researching the ways the county should handle regulations for transit-oriented developments, which are densely built projects near public transportation stations.
The planning board's findings are due by Oct.31, but Oliver's legislation would take effect June 6 if passed Thursday. Bevins asked why the legislation could not wait until the board finished its research.
"What's the hurry?" Bevins said this week. "It seems like we're putting the cart before the horse."
It was unclear how the legislation might affect the course of the construction or the project's timeline. Through a spokesman, Metro Centre developer Howard Brown of David S. Brown Enterprises declined to comment on the bill.
"We need to do whatever we can do to make sure that that center gets … developed," Oliver said this week. "I saw no need for holding it up."