February 9, 2015 9:23 pm ET
Tuesday night meeting about Seagram’s/Foundry Station plans won’t settle the dust just yet
Source: Station-airy Development
The scheduled meeting Tuesday night at the North Point Library regarding the proposed development of the Seagram’s property known as Foundry Station has the aura of “head ‘em up and move ‘em out.”
Or, in other vernacular, “hand me the wrecking ball and the shovel, please.”
On Friday, after being made aware of (or, for those in my age bracket, reminded about) the meeting, I made some attempts to find out about the remediation situation regarding the property. According to plans submitted by the developers, the remediation includes homes of some sort.
Now, in order to build those homes, there are government agencies that need to be involved. After all, someone has to protect those who will be living on that site from the nastiness (or, more directly, stuff in the ground that should not be in said ground).
Trust me, folks, when I say unequivocally that the public safety is in good hands. I spoke to officials from both the County and State today regarding the steps that need to be taken before the bulldozers show up, and I was pleased with what I was told.
This morning I received a call from Mr. Jay Apperson, Deputy Director of the Office of Communications for MDE, and Ms. Barbara Brown, Project Coordinator for the Seagram’s site (and, in case you did not know, a former MDE Employee of the Year). The gist of the call was that there is much work to be done on both sides of the aisle, meaning the State and County requirements.
All puns aside, here is the current situation regarding the potential timeline for the development, which for years has seen its abandoned buildings as thorns in the side of the community.
Much has been written about this issue, including the tragic loss of life at the old distillery; so, naturally, the community is very concerned over the issues that accompany this proposed development.
One that is at the top of the list is, “Will it be safe to live there?”
To answer that question, we have to go back to the meeting where this issue was addressed by John Vontran, who is involved in the development process. He engaged in a voluntary remediation effort, but, since the concept of the development has changed, so has the requirement of MDE in regards to that remediation.
In other words, folks, the shoe no longer fits.
So now it is back to the drawing board for the developers, who will have to fine tune their architectural renderings and then present them for the (not exactly) final community meeting as part of the PUD process.
Just an FYI, the “not exactly” part applies to plans of remediation and demolition of the land, which must pass muster for both the MDE and the County.
After the new remediation plans are submitted to MDE, that agency will, in turn, hold public hearings regarding the “various colors of lights” for the project: either red (no go), green (shovel in the ground), or yellow (there’s more work to do before the dozers arrive).
According to the County, since the developer is submitting new plans, those plans must be presented so that the proper vetting process can be achieved as required by the County.
As it stands at this moment, Mr. Vontran did apply for a demolition permit at the end of 2013, but that has since expired. Also, the permit only involved one building and not the whole property.
Therefore, in order to proceed with the process, a new permit must be applied for, which will have to include the entire area to be demolished. Then, according to County officials, the new plans must be submitted for review, or, as I was told, “They must show us what they intend to build at that location.”
To simplify this not-so-simple process, the County is responsible for what is above the ground, while the State gets to take care of what’s below said ground.
Hopefully I have given the citizens enough general information about what is taking place so people don’t go looking for the shovel in the ground just yet.
In closing, I want to thank Mr. Apperson, Ms. Brown, and Mr. Gardina’s office for informing the folks about this important topic.
As a character in the film Clear and Present Danger said, “It’s about time this all just goes away.”