Baltimore County Council members sparred Monday over a bill that will exempt the
The council unanimously passed the bill after heated exchanges among Councilman
At a meeting last week, the council barely discussed the Metro Centre bill, which exempts the project from regulations on issues including parking, open space and signage. But behind the scenes, lawyers for both Metro Centre developer Howard Brown and Greenberg Gibbons, the developer planning the nearby
The council meeting became contentious Monday as members considered a set of amendments sponsored by Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat, and Councilwoman
A split council approved the amendments, which were backed by Greenberg Gibbons and dealt with issues including traffic and density at the site. Almond said the changes were meant to protect other development in the area, including Foundry Row, which is planned for her district but still needs zoning approval.
Oliver also suggested that Bevins and Almond were unduly influenced by Greenberg Gibbons' attorneys.
Bevins shot back at Oliver, saying she had tried to tell him her concerns about the bill, which she has described as "a blank check" for developer Brown. "You shooed me out of your office, and you never got back to me," Bevins told Oliver.
In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Brown said his project was the county's only transit-oriented development and that the legislation would help move it along. The project broke ground in 2011 after years of postponements.
"Why would anyone want to delay this project, which has been on the books for 10 years?" Brown said, adding that other county projects also have received exemptions to regulations.
Greenberg Gibbons Chairman and CEO Brian Gibbons said after the vote that his firm is "very supportive" of the Metro Centre but was concerned that Oliver's bill could hurt Foundry Row and other developments in Owings Mills.
Also Monday, the council unanimously approved legislation to allow large shopping centers to request smaller parking lots through the director of the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections.