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POLL: Should Foundry Row Go To Referendum?

Opponents of a proposed retail center at the vacant Solo Cup plant in Owings Mills say they plan to bring the issue to referendum. What do you think?

When the Baltimore County Council in Owings Mills for retail last week, the battle did not end, at least for the

Although much of the community , the leader of the coalition, Shirley Supik, said she plans to bring the issue to referendum.

Developer Greenberg Gibbons is proposing a that would be anchored by a Wegmans, include several national retailers and 40,000 square feet of office space. Supik's group, and other opponents, claim the development would at an already burdened intersection and derail plans to .

Do you think Foundry Row should go to referendum? Vote in the poll and tell us in the comments.

ddbs00 September 07, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Money almost always wins, but if you went around O.M. asking people if they'd want a Wegmans to be built at the SOLO site I'm willing to bet you one American dollar the vast, vast majority of responses would be yes regardless of whether the people answering are aware of the BDPC (Big Developer P*****g Contest) going on. For once, we have something the majority of people want and for once what the people want should happen.
Ron Gerstley September 07, 2012 at 12:53 PM
ReisterstownMan, My one liners may not have been understood. I'm saying the same thing you are. It's good for the community surrounding Solo Cup. And they want it. It's bad for the developers who should have already done something around the mall. By the way, that's easier said than done. Nevertheless, Wegmans has every legal right to build there. I'm saying, the developers of the mall (Brown) are funding the efforts to stop Wegmans. "The Power of Money" sadly is wasting more time and money for everyone. Not a joking matter, but just kidding around about the gotta love it stuff.
Chuck Burton September 07, 2012 at 01:10 PM
And if the Foundry Row goes to referendum and somehow is turned down, what do you have in place of it? An empty lot growing weeds and paying little or no tax revenue to the county and state, hiring no-one. Owings Mills is supposed to be a growth area, but some of the so-called developers want no growth except on their own terms and putting bucks in nobody's pockets except their own. What they'll end up getting is no development demand, and damn few bucks for anyone. Pardon the emphasis.
adam s.hopkins September 07, 2012 at 01:23 PM
someones a fake in our goverment,i am shocked..not really,what we really need in this area is a regionial medical center not a damm mall!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!so stop being a greedy b vicki and just do your job the right way or leave!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chuck Burton September 07, 2012 at 01:38 PM
adam s.hopkins, forget about getting any kind of regional medical center in OM. the state would never allow any serious competition to Northwest Hospital - that might drive down medical costs and that would NEVER do!!!!
ReisterstownMAN September 07, 2012 at 01:46 PM
What will end up happening is if it goes to referendum and is turned down...you are correct...it will stand there like a eye soar for many years....like the FRANKS building and the lot...and the Shoppers building and the lot....dont forget the Krispy Kreme building and the lot....im shocked they did not have a problem with Michaels coming to the plaza where Ross is.
Buck Harmon September 07, 2012 at 02:07 PM
Don't forget the movie theater building as well..
merle kaplan September 07, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Turning that huge empty building into a shopping center makes sense. Turning the mall into another housing project makes sense. Let's compromise, build the shopping center on Reisterstown Road and build new homes where the mall is located. Neither location is wasted, and the folks that buy the houses have a super shopping center a couple of blocks away.
Stephanie Dray September 07, 2012 at 02:47 PM
This is ridiculous. Is the referendum for Owings Mills residents only? Because otherwise, I see no reason that anyone else in the county should get a say.
Karyn Harris September 07, 2012 at 02:51 PM
Let the stores come. Bring the jobs to our area. Stop worrying about the traffic. Jobs jobs jobs is what foundry row brings.
merle kaplan September 07, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Referundums are for all of Baltimore County, which is why they are trying to create this hurdle. Owings Mills Residents want these vacant properties renovated or replaced, if this project doesn't go through, the Solo Cup building could be empty like factories in Detroit for decades. This is the highest and best use for this property.
Al Sherry September 07, 2012 at 03:39 PM
What a waste of time and money for the County to have a referendum for a local issue. If the Council refers this to referendum it would be enlightening to "follow the money"
Sharon Dobson September 07, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Local retailers seem to be the only ones against Foundry Row but rather then make themselves more attractive to customers, they want to block the development. I think what they fail to realize is that many people already go to Wegman's in Hunt Valley. The produce is fresher, the store is cleaner and the prices are the same or better.
Sher Katz September 07, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Buck, no she isn't elected, BUT her coalition is listed as a not for profit, and they have to make available their IRS forms, if requested. Though this link is to a NJ government site it has the same language, and a link to the IRS Code. http://www.njnonprofits.org/irs_disclosure_regs.html
Paulette G. September 07, 2012 at 04:52 PM
What is the big deal with Wegmans? I've never heard of them, yet everyone seems to act as if this one store will be Owings Mills salvation. No store is that powerful. It's a grocery store. From all the excitement, all I can assume is that Wegmans is another overpriced, over-hyped store that no one will care about once it's here. Fix the traffic on Reisterstown Road before anything else. We have plenty of grocery stores. Who cares if we get one more?
KW September 07, 2012 at 05:04 PM
This is so ridiculous. This issue should not need to go to referendum. It went through the proper processes. The planning board, local community groups, and community members gave input. The officials we elected to decide these issues made an appropriate decision. There was an article in the Sun not long ago about the potential ramifications of this going to referendum - it ain't pretty. Taking this to referendum won't benefit anyone in this community, including those with reservations about Foundry Row (excluding the mall devs and Brown, of course). The property will languish until the referendum at the 2014 election. If the referendum passes, maybe we'll get a Wegmans - assuming they are still interested. If it fails, no Wegmans, of course. But, what developer will want the property if they might risk another referendum? Wait - maybe the mall devs and/or David S. Brown, again. We should keep in mind that the referendum docs filed could put ALL zoning decisions in District 2 on hold until the 2014 election. And, I believe, other docs seek to have all future zoning decisions go to referendum. Say what? What is the potential economic cost associated with that questionable idea?
Stephanie Dray September 07, 2012 at 05:14 PM
I grew up in Rochester NY where Wegmans began. I watched it grow, store by store, providing excellent jobs with career potential, elevating communities, improving it's service with each new location. I've lived lots of other places in my life and I've never encountered a business quite like it. Wegmans isn't just a grocery store and Owings Mills will benefit greatly from its presence here.
Sharon Dobson September 07, 2012 at 05:16 PM
I guess you don't get to Columbia, Hunt Valley or Belair. Wegman's is a grocery store chain out of Rochester, NY. Every year it is voted one of the top 100 companies in the country to work for by the employees. Because it puts the local grocery stores to shame, people like me drive to either Hunt Valley or Columbia to do our grocery shopping. While we may have plenty of grocery stores most have produce I don't even bother buying because it is picked green, shipped and rots in 2-3 days. The meat quality and freshness is also much better at Wegman's. Their bakery is amazing. They have a Marketplace with multiple food bars for a quick run in and grab lunch or dinner and it is well maintained. There is nothing not to like about Wegman's.
KW September 07, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Paulette: I really think you should become knowledgeable about the issue (including understanding the hype about Wegmans) before rendering a judgement that will affect the entire community. A specific store, whether grocery or otherwise, can have a huge impact on a community. For example, compare having a Food Lion in a community versus a Whole Foods. They will have a very different impact. Whereas the addition of a Food Lion would probably be a non-event, a Whole Foods would raise the profile of the neighborhood. Additionally, the Whole Foods might draw other retailers that add to the community, as well. If we don't get good retailers you probably won't have to worry about traffic too much, because there will be no reason for people to come here. More retailers will leave. OM will continue its slow decline from a place that used-to-be somewhere to a high-end slum or over-priced semi-urban ghetto.
Joseph September 07, 2012 at 05:34 PM
She may not be elected but it is hypocritical for her to engage in the very acts she accuses the councilwomen of. Makes you wonder what the real story behind Shirley Supik is especially since she doesn't even live in Owings Mills.
merle kaplan September 07, 2012 at 07:33 PM
I concur with KW, the addition of Wegmans and other high end retailers will have a remarkable effect on the quality of homebuyer looking to move into our community. I own a small business on Reisterstown Road in Owings Mills, close to the Stoler car dealerships. I would like to see the properties on the other side of Reisterstown Road, across from the Giant Supermarket rezoned so that property can be improved. Then the empty Regal Bank site can be improved, maybe somewill find a use for the old donut shop next to Popeye's Chicken. The redevelopment of Solo Cup will launch investment that will improve the community. (If you want to know what business, google my name.) We spent over a million dollars building a new building on Reisterstown Road two years ago, and we'd like to see a lot more businesses getting building permits and rezoning for commercial use on Reisterstown Road.
Gus September 07, 2012 at 07:54 PM
The land needs to be developed for something and not allowed to be a sore spot in the community. People will shop at Wegmans, use less gas to get to this one instead of going to Hunt Valley. Other stores (nearby and that will come) will benefit from Wegmans being there. Stop all the talk and get the project started and done. The sooner the better.
Sharon G September 07, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Dear Paulette: The big deal about Wegmans is that the produce, meat and bakery departments are wonderful. They don't have very many big sales, because their everyday prices are already lower than Giant, Safeway and Target. If you need help with something you can actually find a store worker and they will go searching in stockrooms immediately. The variety is amazing and their store brand consistently good. No one should waste any time with a referendum. I am guessing that any retail space that is slotted for that area, Wegmans or not, will face the same opposition. The traffic in that area is already a mess. I would bet some engineers will create some nice big turning lanes into the new mall and think big....maybe a few different entrances.
Chuck Burton September 07, 2012 at 09:42 PM
Paulette G.,why are you commenting on Wegmans if you've never heard of them, never shopped at their stores? You have no basis for criticism. And one might turn your other comment around: If there is nothing along Reisterstown Rd worth going to, why bother to fix the traffic? Who would care anyway?
TR September 07, 2012 at 10:38 PM
If the developers behind getting this whole Foundry Row thing shut down was even half as enthusiastic about getting the mall property up and running. The mall would be something of value at this point instead of being one gigantic eyesore for the last ten years.
Buck Harmon September 07, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Why did the mall fail so miserably?
Paulette G. September 08, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Thank you for the people who answered my question about what is so great about Wegmans. As for the comments that imply that I should not have an opinion simply because I have not heard of this store before - that's why I asked. I spent fifteen minutes today sitting in traffic between Owings Mills Blvd. and Painters Mills because Reisterstown Road was so backed up, and this was at 2:30pm. That's why I think traffic patterns need adjustment before adding a major shopping area. I live here, that's why I think I have the right to an opinion. Wegmans sounds like a wonderful store, one which I will probably venture a trip to Hunt Valley to try. I stand by what I said though, one store cannot bring salvation to an entire city. This entire area needs much more than one upscale grocery store to establish itself as a shopping destination. Once again, thank you to those who politely answered why Wegmans is better than the average grocery store and why it would be a wonderful addition to the area.
Ann Menam September 24, 2012 at 01:13 PM
@Paulette - I have to disagree with your statement that one store cannot bring salvation to an entire city. Wegman's can. A store like Wegman's changes the complexion of the shopping district in an area. Once Wegman's moves in, there is typically a natural pull for other "upscale" retailers to consider the area. My only fear is that the crime in Owings Mills (which was a huge negative impacting the once thriving and somewhat upscale (back in the day when they had SAKS Fifth Avenue) mall) will ultimately cause the decline and eventual closing of any store that attempts to make Owings Mills an attractive place to shop and live. Some have blamed the crime on the subway (easy access for criminals traveling to Owings Mills to commit crime), others on the community residents but regardless, until something is done to deter the crime rate in Owings Mills, I am afraid that whatever improvements are made will eventually be offset by high crime causing Owings Mills to fall into the same despair as the Owings Mills Mall. Since the mall was built, the neighborhood has completely changed and the crime rate has gone through the roof. In fact, it was the rising crime that caused many "law abiding citiizens" to flee the Randallstown/Owings Mills area. They sold their homes at a "steal" just to escape. Now they are gone and the new inhabitants are consistently driving the crime rate higher and higher. Sad state of affairs there.
Buck Harmon September 24, 2012 at 01:31 PM
The problem with Owings Mills is the poor quality of housing development that has been allowed over the last 20 years. When plastic shacks are thrown up built to the lowest standards allowable by law the entire community suffers while greed driven developers prosper...for a while...once the fad fades and the communities begin to show signs of wear, the downward spiral begins. Most plastic shacks aren't worth the price originally paid for them and as they begin to fall apart, the cost to maintain or restore them is really hard to justify in terms of value. When a large percentage of a community that is distressed by housing costs struggles, perceived high end shopping opportunities are destine to fail....just as the mall did. More of the same will only repeat the cycle...wishful thinking is positive though...
Chuck Burton September 24, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Ann, crime is everywhere. It's the result of an economic climate fostered by people who want to see the return of Feudalism, with the lords and ladies of wealth trickling down dribs and drabs to the serfs who are "beneath " them. And even if such a climate didn't exist, some would want to steal the from their brethren to attain the easy life they dream of. The poor quality of housing that Buck Harmon talks about below is just symptomatic.

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