County Council Establishes West Baltimore County Redevelopment Authority To Facilitate Revitalization Projects
BALTIMORE COUNTY - At Monday's session of the Baltimore County Council, members voted to establish the West Baltimore County Redevelopment Authority to address areas requiring significant residential, commercial, or industrial development or redevelopment.
The Authority, created under Bill 40-23, was championed by members Pat Young, Izzy Patoka, and Council President Julian Jones. The 20-member group will function as an autonomous body designed to facilitate redevelopment, including acquiring or rehabilitating land. The stated goals of the Authority are to alleviate unemployment, encourage a balanced economy, retain and attract new industry and commerce, and promote economic development, growth, welfare, and safety for Baltimore County residents.
"I just want to acknowledge Councilman Young for his leadership on this particular issue," Patoka said. "With the discussions we had as the council and the support of the administration, I feel more enthusiastic than ever that we are moving the county in the right direction, especially the western part of Baltimore County."
"West Baltimore County," as defined by the legislation, includes the boundary line of Liberty Road in the North, Baltimore National Pike in the South, Rolling Road in the West, and the line between Baltimore County and Baltimore City in the East, along with all contiguous parcels for one block, except at the boundary line between Baltimore County and Baltimore City.
The West Baltimore County Redevelopment Authority was granted significant powers under the bill, including making recommendations on eminent domain and a right of first refusal to purchase county-owned property or receive title to foreclosed non-residential property in West Baltimore County.
The governance of the Authority includes 11 public members and nine ex officio members, with voting rights limited to the public members. Ex officio members will be drawn from local government representatives, and rules and regulations will be adopted to guide the Authority's operations, including promoting the participation of minority and women-owned businesses.
The Authority will prepare and adopt an annual operating and capital budget for submission to the county. It may also establish a capital improvement program, though specific budgetary requirements must be met, and prior approval is required for certain capital projects.
To ensure transparency and adherence to local ethics laws, the Authority members must file financial disclosure statements, and a progress report detailing major accomplishments and upcoming projects is required to be issued to the public annually.