The Greenspring Quarry
development plan is likely to soon be approved by Baltimore
County. The hearing on the quarry plan was held March 11 before
county zoning commissioner Lawrence Schmidt.
Three days had been set aside for
the hearing but it ended in one day, and while Mr. Schmidt has
15 days to issue a written decision, he indicated his probable
At the hearing, there was
almost near unanimity between the developer, Steven Koren of the
Columbia-based Koren Development Co., and the community on all
issues. Even Mr. Schmidt commented on how unusual it was to
reach this stage in the county development process and not have
some disagreements, especially in a project of this magnitude.
The two main issues that still
existed were resolved by the end of the hearing. One was the
interconnection of Lightfoot Drive; the other, a deceleration
lane on Greenspring Avenue.
The quarry ceased operations
in 1999. Since then, based on a 1984 covenantal agreement with
community groups and adjacent property owners, and a 1999
agreement with the County Council, the 258-acre site in
Pikesville is being developed into a mixed-use project of
residential units, office-retail buildings, a lake and a public
park. The quarry's owner, Florida
Rock Industries, chose Mr. Koren to develop the property.
On the issue of the interconnection of Lightfoot Drive, there
are currently two Lightfoot Drives, east and west, both of which
dead-end. The developer plans to build 12 houses on the east
side of Lightfoot Drive that loops into the quarry property, and
end the road in a cul-de-sac.
The community and the
developer were against connecting Lightfoot Drive. The county
Department of Public Works, which originally had requested that
the two Lightfoot Drives be connected, was willing to settle for
the developer granting it a 50-foot right-of-way for a future
Several area residents, among
them Neville Jacobs, president of the Pikesville Greenspring
Community Coalition, an umbrella for 20 neighborhood groups,
testified against the connection, arguing it would increase
traffic on their neighborhood street. Robert Bowling, of the
county public works department, argued that the county always
intended to connect Lightfoot but could not do so because the
quarry portion had been privately owned.
In the end, Mr. Schmidt agreed
with the community, saying that he would eliminate the Lightfoot
Drive interconnection from consideration.
On the issue of a deceleration
lane, the community wanted, and the developer was willing to
build, a deceleration lane on Greenspring Avenue for a "pod" of
six single-family houses that will be built at the north end of
the quarry site, and will have its own, separate entrance onto
Greenspring. The county opposed a deceleration lane for
Robert A. Hoffman, Mr. Koren's
attorney, came up with a compromise in which a shortened
deceleration lane would be built outside the environmental area.
This appeared acceptable to all sides, thus resolving the last
of the two impediments to the quarry development plan.
Mr. Neville, on behalf of PGCC,
also entered into the record a document signed by PGCC, Mr.
Koren and other parties involved in the development of the site.
The document was an agreement
by all parties that resolved all of the issues raised at the
county-required community input meeting on the quarry, held last
September. Mr. Jacobs read each issue and, after meetings
between PGCC and the developer, the resolution that had been
For example, the developer is
donating 22 acres of land for a park. The park will be open
during daylight hours for public use but will be owned and
maintained by the quarry's homeowners and business associations.
The county had asked that the park include a tot lot and picnic
area but PGCC and the developer wants it to be a strictly
passive park, with walking paths.
Mr. Schmidt polled
representatives of all the county agencies involved in the
development process. Except for the public works department, all
issues had been resolved before the hearing.
A traffic study shows that the
development will generate 19,500 trips daily onto Greenspring
Avenue, the access to the development. This would be in addition
to the existing, equivalent traffic on Greenspring Avenue, for a
combined total of an estimated 50,000 trips per day.
The landscaped median fronting
the quarry site along Greenspring Avenue, which itself will be
widened to a five-lane road, has been modified and a left-turn
The quarry's interior loop road will become a county public
road; the homeowners association will be responsible for snow
removal but the county has agreed to take care of maintenance
The plan calls for 593
residential units, including 83 single-family houses, 270
condominiums in the north end and 240 condos along the lake, in
the south end of the site. The houses will be scattered
throughout the site, although 60 will be concentrated in the
south end, including the 12 on Lightfoot Drive.
There will also be a
287,500-square-foot office space with areas for four
restaurants; a 60,000-square-foot retail space; a
97,000-square-foot, 125-room inn; and a 6,000-square-foot
community center. The community center will have a swimming pool
and tennis courts; it will be for residents' use only, but the
center itself will be available for PGCC functions.
Mr. Neville also gave details
of an agreement on the lake and required dam, as well as Moore's
Branch, a stream that winds through the quarry site and
eventually spills into the Jones Falls.
Since quarry operations
ceased, the quarry has been allowed to fill naturally as a lake,
the centerpiece of the site. It will take another three to six
years for the 40-acre wide, 500-foot deep lake to fill to the
350- to 370-foot surface elevation range.
Concerns were expressed about
the design and resulting integrity of the dam, given the surface
elevation of the future lake. Mr. Jacobs said this issue had
been satisfactorily resolved with the developer.
Mr. Koren has said he expects
to be finished with the land reclamation phase of the project
this year. He is far enough along to begin development of the