Towson University is at a crossroads as it drafts a new, five-year campus master plan.
The university of nearly 23,000 students is designated by the Maryland Board of Regents as a growth institution, and already has the second-highest enrollment in the state, after the University of Maryland at College Park with 38,000 students.
Towson University, however, has little room to grow and, at the suggestion of the regents, plans to cap enrollment at 25,000 by the year 2024, meaning it would enroll fewer than 3,000 new students in the next nine years.
Officials are pondering how many more academic and residence halls to build on the main campus and what impact an enrollment cap would have on admission rates. Moreover, they are asking whether more growth is wise for a university that values its neighborhood aesthetic and its ratio of one teacher for every 17 students.
via Towson University ponders how much or little it should grow – Baltimore Sun.
As Towson booms with multimillion-dollar building projects and revitalization efforts in older areas, residents say something is missing: open space.
Amid the wave of retail, restaurants, housing and offices, residents say green space, parkland and fields in Towson are growing scarce — and they worry the county’s desire to make its seat a vibrant urban center is further de-emphasizing open space for families.
“You can’t just put up concrete everywhere,” said Mike Ertel, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations.
Most jurisdictions, including Baltimore County, require developers to include a certain amount of open space — parks, playgrounds, fields — within their projects. But Baltimore County allows developers to pay a waiver fee instead of providing that space. The county is required to spend the money on open space elsewhere.
You can’t just put up concrete everywhere. – Mike Ertel, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations
But in the heart of Towson, an area designated for growth, those fees are often minimal or nothing at all. As a result, residents say, the community lacks green spaces, and isn’t getting sufficient money to buy new parks or improve existing ones.
via Towson residents urge county to make developers pay for open space – Baltimore Sun.
TOWSON, Md. —It’s a balancing act in Towson these days, finding the right mix of downtown development and green space.
People packed into a planning board meeting Thursday night to voice their disgust, with what some call sweetheart deals for developers.
Peter Manciocchi has a burning question.
“I really want to know why my grandson has to sell cookies to support the parks and recreation around here, while these developers, who I personally think are rent-seeking social parasites, they come in here, they stress the infrastructure beyond its capacity, they diminish the quality of life and they expect a free ride,” Manciocchi said.
The Towson grandparent was one of dozens sounding off during the meeting on a plan to keep the status quo when it comes to development versus green space laws.
via Towson residents voice opposition over developers | Maryland News – WBAL Home.
The suburbs of Washington, D.C. were an excellent petri dish for the graduation of suburban centers into real places. The granddaddy of this process may be Bethesda, followed by Silver Spring. More recently, Tysons Corner, the essence of a non-place, has not only been re-imagined but is in the middle of a reincarnation as a mixed-use center. Then there is Pentagon City, Ballston, and Clarendon (all transit oriented development centers in Arlington County) and, of course, Reston, the new town which is not so much a reinvented suburb, as an urban center conceived from whole cloth. More conversions are in the making, most notably Rockville Pike, which as a suburb had become also a poster child of suburban misery.
Lately, the Baltimore area is picking up the pace, particularly Towson, the seat of the Baltimore county government where the court house is located, and which has always been the county’s most notable place. Baltimore County’s “new town” centers, Owings Mills and White Marsh never could and still cannot hold a candle to successful places. They were designated as centers in the seventies as part of Baltimore County’s “smart growth” strategies of keeping growth inside the urban rural demarcation line (URDL), but remained far from becoming real urban spaces. They were far too influenced by suburban car-oriented principles (even though Owings Mills has a metro rail connection and recently was designated as a TOD). Towson, which was long derided as a sleepy burg or loved as a historic community with a small town feel, depending on one’s perspective, is quickly becoming the most urban place outside Baltimore City. This non-incorporated town of about 55,000 residents is rapidly transforming into something new thanks to a slew of large-scale developments which are proposed, under review or already constructed. Naturally the transformation is causing both anxieties and aspirations. When the County Executive touts his town as “the next Bethesda,” residents counter that they deserve better than that.
via Reinventing the Suburbs: Towson MD | Community Architect.
Dozens of Towson-area residents packed a Baltimore County Planning Board meeting Thursday night to press for larger open space fees from developers.
The Planning Board is reviewing the fees that the county charges to developers who can’t fit enough open space within their projects. Their recommendations will be sent to the Baltimore County Council.
In Towson, where there is significant development and redevelopment, many projects are charged little in open space fees due to exemptions in the rules. This has frustrated community activists and parents who say there aren’t enough parks to enjoy or fields to support sports programs.
“We’re not against developers, but we want open government and we want open space,” West Towson resident Josh Glikin told members of the Planning Board during a public hearing Thursday night.
via Towson residents plead for open space money – Baltimore Sun.