Locust Point Residents Oppose Proposed Nine-Story Building on Woodall Street

| September 5, 2018 | 3 Comments

The Locust Point Civic Association (LPCA), Councilman Eric Costello, Domino Sugar, and many residents on the 1400 blocks of Woodall St. and Stevenson St. have teamed up to oppose a proposed nine-story building and adjacent parking garage at 1401-1407 Woodall St. The proposed development from Goodier Properties would take the place of two less than two-story industrial buildings and a vacant lot that face E. Key Hwy., Woodall St. and Stevenson St.

This plan was scheduled to go before the Baltimore City Board of Municipal & Zoning Appeals (BMZA) on Tuesday, but was postponed at the request of Joseph Woolman, the counsel of Goodier Properties. Woolman said he had just received a letter from Domino Sugar voicing its concerns with the project and wanted to meet with the company before proceeding with the zoning appeal. This postponement was opposed by LPCA attorney John C. Murphy and the approximately 30 Locust Point residents at the hearing who showed up in opposition to the project.

The submitted zoning appeal requested constructing a new nine-story, mixed-use structure with 28 dwelling units; office and retail space at 1401-1407 Woodall St.; and a five-story parking garage on the adjoining lot.

A previous Goodier proposal from late last year outlined constructing a five-story office and retail building that included below ground parking. This plan was also opposed by LPCA. Goodier decided to move forward with the new nine-story, mixed-use proposal.

1401 Woodall St. has a C-2 zoning which allows 60 ft. of commercial use with a conditional use of up to 100 ft. with mixed-use residential.

The new building and garage would abut a home on Stevenson St. and would be separated from a home on Woodall St. by a small alley.

Goodier representatives have not responded to requests for comment and for additional details on the proposal.

After Tuesday’s postponed hearing, SouthBMore.com spoke with many of the Locust Point residents in attendance who voiced their anger and frustration by postponement. Many noted they took off work to be there and had to make arrangements due to it being the first day of public school with many schools letting out early due to heat.

The residents, including LPCA Board of Directors Bember and Design Review Committee Member Justin Grossman and LPCA President Matthew Farosky, noted that Locust Point is not against development and pointed to the neighborhood’s “good faith” track record of working with War Horse Cities on Anthem House and Alta47, and 28 Walker on multiple phases of McHenry Row.

Points of opposition made by the Locust Point residents were that the proposed building was out of scale with the surrounding blocks of Woodall and Stevenson St. which consists of two-story rowhomes, some of which have a third-story rear setback addition. The new structure would be four times the height of the surrounding homes, according to Grossman.

Another point of concern was that the parking garage traffic would tax the one-way streets of Woodall and Richardson St. which have about a 10 ft.-wide driving lane. The block residents in attendance also noted that street traffic is already high as it’s one of the few entrances into Locust Point and that there is a lot of traffic accessing adjacent McHenry Row. Woodall St. was changed to a one-way street when McHenry Row opened in 2012.

Residents were also concerned that not enough parking would be provided. The number of parking spaces was not mentioned in the zoning appeal docket that SouthBMore.com had access to; however, a previous proposal that was scheduled to go before BMZA in April, but was postponed, was to include 56 parking spaces to accommodate 56 apartments.

The block residents also mentioned environmental concerns and the potential for pile driving adjacent to their homes.

They noted that several residents have moved from the block in the past year because of the project and others are considering putting their homes up for sale. “When do you pull the plug,” said Hans Tronic.

“Some of us have been here over 25 years. The City needs to retain long-term middle class residents like us,” said Woodall St. resident Lara Faulkner. “We send kids to public schools and support the local businesses.”

Woodall St. resident Brooke Johnson said they were willing to compromise with the developer of the property on a three-story building.

More than 143 residents have signed a petition opposing the project proposal.

Farosky said LPCA’s goal is to have good faith negotiations with Goodier as they’ve done with other developers.

Peter O’Malley, vice president of corporate relations with Domino Sugar, was at the hearing to oppose the project and said he supports the community. Domino Sugar is across Key Hwy. from the project site.

Councilman Eric Costello submitted a letter to BMZA opposing the project.

Update 9/11/18: This hearing has been rescheduled for 9/18/18 during the 1pm docket.

Project site

The following renderings were created by LPCA (not the developer Goodier Properties) to show the scale of the proposed project

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Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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