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Promenot Video Takes Aim at Huff, Land Use

A recently released video criticizes the northern Baltimore County Republican of zoning changes that endanger water quality for 1.8 million people.

A group formed to oppose the redevelopment of the Spring Grove Hospital Center has a new target—Councilman Todd Huff.

In a recently posted video, the group calling itself Catonsville Promenot criticizes the Timonium Republican for zoning changes that "upzoned 1,000 acres" of land as part of the comprehensive zoning map process completed in August.

The changes, according to the group's nearly three-minute video, could affect water quality for nearly 1.8 million residents of central Maryland.

"What's the moral of our story?" the video asks. "Is it that that Todd Huff is reckless and dangerous? Is it that the development mafia has hijacked the county? Although plausible, the real lesson is: if you value things like clean drinking water, you must understand that responsible land use isn't a partisan issue."

Huff isn't the first councilman to come under fire from the group.

In June, the group posted a video focusing on the relationship between Catonsville Democratic Councilman Tom Quirk and developer Steve Whalen. The video also highlighted campaign contributions made to a number of elected officials including County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Dels. Steve DeBoy and Jim Malone.

The group alleges that the money from Whalen and people and businesses associated with the Catonsville developer are tilting the process unfairly in favor of more development over open space and ball fields.

Whalen wants to redevelop a parcel of the Spring Grove Hospital Center as part of his proposed Promenade project.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe November 15, 2012 at 02:32 PM
We all understand that developers like Whalen buy their permits and studies. As it has been and ans it is and as it will always be. Should Maryland declare any SG property as surplus, and put it up for sale, does anyone believe that just anyone would be allowed to bid on it? Would the "surplus" property go to auction or some form of open bidding or is it set aside for Whalen as is suspected by many? Someone needs to send a PIA to Senator Kasemeyer and to Deboy and Malone to see how they have been working with Whalen for many years on the Promenade.
OpenEyes November 16, 2012 at 02:08 PM
Thank you Mr. Sears for reporting on the activity of concerned citizens attempting to educate Baltimore County voters. Acording to the Catonsville Promenots facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/catonsville.promenot the group is not opposed to the redevelopment of Spring Grove, rather, it is "Advocating that Spring Grove’s redevelopment should focus on the creation of a 50 acre regional park funded through adaptive reuse of the existing historic structures and expansion of UMBC’s research park. They believe in protecting our limited opportunities for open space and the redevelopment of current commercial corridors."
Buck Harmon November 16, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Great cause..great job..
RARE MARYLAND INDEPENDENT November 17, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Love Catonsville. Have called it home for 25 years. BUT - we must understand what we are - and what we are not. We do not have the proper demographics or income to support any type of operation like what Whalen wants to do. It sounds great on paper - but we know what would happen. The operation would resemble Security Mall soon after opening and Whalen gets paid his money and nobody wants that. We have a great school at UMBC. Apartments on a piece of the property with a shuttle would be a great addition. Add to that ball fields that the Catonsville, Arbutus, Landsdowne, and Woodlawn programs could use would be great also - as long as sufficient money is set aside for maintenance and security. I know the Police want some of the property, make due with what you have, like everyone else. It will not matter though - Spring Grove is still an operating facility - and they will let you know that. Quirk cannot be trusted.
Joe November 17, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Remember Whalen sold a piece of property to the county for a courthouse near Security mall. That land could have been culled from the SG property. Whalen makes money buy selling the county land for a courthouse and then makes money again with a sweetheart deal on land that the county could have used at SG. A win win for Whalen and a cost cost for the taxpayers.
Joe November 17, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Oh, and where in the sw county can we find state or county owned land with the same opportunity for recreational open space as we have at SG? A county water park would be a great use of some of the land. An indoor shooting range that the BCPD and the public could use. A K9 training area for the BCPD and maybe even the MSP could be placed there. ALL better uses than another shopping area that will benefit a local developer much much more than anyone in the county.
Don November 18, 2012 at 05:50 AM
Unfortunately, unless people of Catonsville wake up, band together and do something, it is just a matter of time before Whalen will get his way with the Promanade project. He is a bully, has money, knows people in power and doesn't care about the people of Catonsville. Try navigating I-195 onto South Rolling Rd, entry to UMBC from I-195 or Frederick Rd through Catonsville down to and across the beltway at 5:30 p.m. On a week day. These areas would be access points to the Promanade. I have lived in Catonsville for 65 years and it is not what it used to be. It has gotten too crowded and has become a pass-through for other areas that are also over crowded. If the Promanade gets built Catonsville will never be the same.
OpenEyes November 18, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Dear Don, Joe, and Maryland Independent, Don is absolutely correct, but fortunately we have Catonsville Promenot starting to organinze the opposition formally. By visiting, and becoming friends with Catonsville Promenot on Facebook you become part of this. You are all needed. The purpose of this video was to show that land use isn't a partisan matter. Whether you are a Democrat, Republican, or and independent this is not a private fight and anyone can jump in. To date our group has almost 200 Facebook friends, the first video is approaching 1400 views, we have staged 3 protests (would love to have you three attend). JOIN CATONSVILLE PROMENOT. Don't put off tomorrow what you can do today.
Geoffrey Atkinson November 19, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Seems to me that Spring Grove is a functioning hospital, don't see the problem with keeping it that way. That is state land and (if anything) it should be used as a state government center.
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