A poll funded by developers who are opposed to Foundry Row shows that those surveyed have serious concerns about the development proposed for the Solo Cup plant site and would like to see it stopped or delayed.
The Baltimore County Council votes whether to rezone the Solo property on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
Those polled on behalf of "the Owings Mills Team" indicated developers have too much power over development decisions, there should be more public review of the project, the mall should be developed first, and the local economy and infrastructure cannot handle the project along with other Owings Mills developments.
“A total of 62 percent said they oppose the project or think it should be delayed, 21 percent preferred that Foundry Row not be built at all and 36 percent thought it should be postponed until after the Owings Mills Mall site is redeveloped,” said a memo distributed by Kearney O’Doherty (KO) Public Affairs. Five percent of those polled said they might support the project after a public review process.
The Owings Mills Mall team includes Kimco and General Growth Properties, and other businesses and developers with interests in the area, according to Howard Libit of KO. The memo summarizing the results was addressed to KO, the company handling public relations for Kimco and the Owings Mills Mall redevelopment project.
KO said the poll surveyed 1,105 registered voters who live in Baltimore County Districts 2 and 4 in May. KO released the memo last week.
Ken Oliver, councilman for District 4, which includes the Metro Centre at Owings Mills and Owings Mills Mall, said he wants more review of the project before Solo Cup gets rezoned for retail. Vicki Almond, councilwoman for District 2, which includes the Solo Cup plant, said she believes all three projects can happen together in Owings Mills.
The memo to KO said, “The decision to rezone the Solo Cup site to allow retail developer (should) be more of a public process involving citizens and stakeholders to address concerns.”
The majority of those responding to the Owings Mills Mall Team poll listed taxpayer impact of Foundry Row as their main concern after being told that it will take $50 million tax dollars for transportation improvements. Foundry Row developer Greenberg Gibbons has pledged $7 million to $10 million in off-site road improvements, and produced a traffic study summary saying that the road improvements would adequately manage traffic issues.
The survey also cited environmental concerns and a preference for transit-oriented development among other voter issues, but those were not at the top of the list.
“Other issues are important…but such issues fall behind the leading ideas mentioned above: Lack of a public process, the limitations of the economy, more appropriate positioning for retail at Owings Mills Mall, traffic impacts along Reisterstown Road and concern for tax burden,” the memo to KO said.