The Green Towson Alliance, (GTA) a non-profit coalition of Towson area environmental volunteers, is disappointed in the Downtown Towson Zoning Overlay Bill passed by the Baltimore County Council on Monday, August 1, finding it to be shortsighted. GTA sought requirements in the Overlay to preserve mature trees, replant shade trees, allow for a small amount of public open space in large new developments, restrain light pollution in neighborhoods and create a pedestrian-friendly design of buildings and streetscape.
GTA, advocating on behalf of numerous Towson residents and families who want downtown Towson to be far greener and more navigable by means other than the automobile, wanted the Overlay to be more inclusive of citizen, business, and property owner interests in the area of environmental protection and sustainability.
But it is the developers who benefited from the Overlay through the elimination of height and setback restrictions for new buildings, generous signage concessions and the loosening of former zoning law protections.
While the Overlay might be a baby step in the right direction, it does not reflect a fair and appropriate level of environmental protection from the heedless grayscaping of the downtown. Downtown Towson sits on a ridge top, and the repercussions of excessive grayscaping and excessive automobile traffic will cascade down and deeply impact neighbors, parks, businesses and the Bay.
The Green Towson Alliance consists of active volunteers from most neighborhoods in the Towson area, representing a large population of residents. Its volunteer environmentalists have pooled their collective experience, expertise, unique skills and knowledge to foster a greater appreciation and awareness of preserving the environment in Towson.
GTA works toward a greener, healthier, more beautiful local community.