October 8, 2015 2:59 pm ET
Crandell’s post on issue deleted from Dundalk Eagle
Source: Updated: Rejection Objection
Councilman Todd Crandell
Update: In referring to Mr. Crandell’s press release relating to the Fort Howard PUD as revealed in the September 24, 2015 edition of the Dundalk Eagle, under Councilmans Corner, that posting has been deleted. I created a hard copy of the article and is available upon demand. I contacted the Eagle and was told “if you don’t see it, it’s not on line.”
I want to start this post with a quote from Councilman Todd Crandell’s letter regarding developer Tim Munshell’s submission of an application for a PUD related to his project, The Landing at Fort Howard.
Note the key word, “application.”
So, carefully read this quote from the councilman to David Karceski, an attorney for Venable, LLP, which represents Mr. Munshell.
“Thank you for submitting your client’s application for a Planned Unit Development for the Veterans Administration Property at Ft. Howard in Baltimore County’s Seventh District.
I am writing to inform you that I am rejecting the application and will not put forth a Council Resolution that would allow the density and use proposed in the application.
I look forward to reviewing subsequent plans for the property.”
Now, if you read the law, Mr. Crandell actually circumvented the application vetting process to which the developer is entitled. I will list below some of the areas of concern.
Before I do that, though, let me be clear on where I stand on this issue. I have written blog after blog on this topic, all of which said that a development of this size would destroy that entire peninsula creating a “nightmare of biblical proportions.”
Get my drift?
Now back to the case at hand—the “rejection.” I became suspicious after reading Mr. Crandell’s press release published in the Dundalk Eagle where he stated, “This week, I officially rejected a Planned Unit Development (PUD) that proposes to redevelop the 100 acre Veterans … Fort Howard property.”
In my mind, that set off alarm bells because this came out of the blue. I called the county council secretary and asked her if she was aware of such a PUD, as well as where was it posted on the county website—which the law requires.
The secretary had no clue about what I was requesting. “What PUD, Mr. Beeler?”
Let me provide some education on the PUD process. Here is the beginning:
32-4-241. REVIEW. (Baltimore County Code)
A proposal for a Planned Unit Development, authorized under Section 430 of the Baltimore County Zoning Regulations, shall be submitted and reviewed in accordance with the procedures of this title.
The key words here are, “shall be submitted and reviewed in accordance…”
Next, a no show on the Internet is a no-no. The application must be posted.
(1) Posting on County Council website. The application shall be posted on the County Council internet website.
Not to bore you to death, but here are some more requirements that never saw the light of day, or—in this case—the light of the law.
(2) Post-submission community meeting. A post-submission community meeting shall be held as follows:
(i) The post-submission community meeting shall be held no earlier than 21 days and no later than 30 days after the filing of a PUD application. The applicant shall provide three weeks advance notice regarding the date, time, and location of the post-submission community meeting by the posting of a sign on the subject property in the same manner as required by § 32-4-217(b) of this subtitle. Written notice shall be mailed to:
Nada on the community meetings.
Final legal lesson of the day from this requirement of the law on the application process:
(3) Preliminary review. Copies of the application for a Planned Unit Development that was presented to the Council member shall be submitted to the Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections. The Department shall transmit the copies to the Department of Planning, the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability and the Department of Public Works and other appropriate reviewing agencies for preliminary review and comment. Prior to adoption of a resolution under subsection (d), the reviewing county agencies shall provide a written preliminary evaluation of the proposal to the Council member within 15 days of the filing of a PUD application. The preliminary evaluation shall be posted on the county’s internet website.
No one in the hallowed walls of the county offices had a clue about any Fort Howard PUD application.
I think I now know why no one returned my phone calls or wanted to talk about this. Simply put, how can the councilman reject something that was never submitted through the proper channels?
Is this now standard procedure for future PUD applications?
Does the councilman have the right or authority to not submit the application through the proper channels so that it can be vetted and officially rejected?
An official PUD is supposed to be voted on by the entire council after all the requirements under the law are met. The local councilman/councilwoman in whose district the PUD is submitted usually is granted “councilmatic courtesy,” as the other members of the council feel that council member knows his or her particular district best.
Does Mr. Munshell have a possible lawsuit to recover any funds spent on his efforts that were not vetted?
Is that why the County Executive, the VA, and Mr. Munshell had a “no comment” to the Sun’s request for some lip service?
Did the councilman seek any advice on how to proceed with this application?
The light shed upon this situation was provided by one whose knowledge turned on the light bulb, so to speak.
Did this post open a can of worms? That is not for me to decide, but I think people need to realize that there is more to this than meets the eye, like the law.