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Keyword: kevin kamenetz

Fronda Cohen
Baltimore County Office of Communications

New Middle River jobs, residents and businesses continue their move to the crossroads of I-95 and Maryland Route 43 in eastern Baltimore County. Baltimore Crossroads, a 1,000 acre business community between White Marsh and the Middle River waterfront, already has attracted key companies such as Social Solutions, Synagro, Danfoss, Pevco, BGE HOME, Atlantic Design and Breakthru Beverage Maryland. Over 2,500 people work in Baltimore Crossroads, with 10,000 jobs expected when development is completed.  

Here’s a mid-year snapshot.

Shovels in the ground for new $750 million development

Artist's rendering of Greenleigh at CrossroadsConstruction is underway for Greenleigh at Crossroads, a signature $750 million live-work-play community along Maryland Route 43.  

“Greenleigh is placemaking at its best,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “Greenleigh’s design and mix of homes, amenities and offices will attract young professionals who want to live in a 21st century lifestyle community near their jobs. I-95 is minutes away, with the Middle River MARC rail station just down the road. Residents can walk or bike to the waterfront. This is the perfect complement to the business development already in Baltimore Crossroads.”

The 200-acre development incorporates many new urbanism design elements including a compact walkable design; a mix of shops, offices, apartments and homes; pedestrian-scaled neighborhoods and a network of open spaces for more walking and less driving.

When completed, Greenleigh at Crossroads will include about 1,500 single family homes, townhomes, apartments and condo units; 428,000 square feet of office space in three new mid-rise office buildings and four single-story office buildings that are already completed; 128,000 square feet of new retail space; a 120 room Marriott SpringHill Suites hotel, plus walking trails, parks and places to gather.  

St. John Properties, Somerset Construction and Elm Street Development are developing the project.

RPM Goes Bigger

With a roster of food-industry clients, RPM Warehouse, a division of RPM Consolidated Services, Inc., moved to Baltimore Crossroads in January 2016. By April, they were ready to add more space for their logistics, warehousing and transportation business.  RPM now fills a full 435,000 square foot building. Chesapeake Real Estate Group specifically designed the building to support the needs of large warehouse and distribution clients. The building design includes expansive and secured truck courts, high ceilings, state-of-the-art sprinkler systems. Especially important in food handling, the HVAC/ventilation system achieves over three air changes per hour.

More BGE HOME

BGE HOME headquarters just plain ran out of space. This fall, they’ll be expanding into additional office and warehouse space on Tangier Drive. The company, which provides heating and cooling products and services, finds their location near I-95 and Route 40 ideal for servicing business and residential customers throughout the Baltimore region.

Meanwhile, less than a mile away

A 60 x 115 foot outdoor skating rink, more restaurants and outdoor dining, new fountains and fire pits are part of Federal Realty Investment Trust’s multi-million dollar renovation of The Avenue at White Marsh. 

Plus, iFLY indoor sky diving opens this fall.

Can’t wait to see what’s next!

 


Digital Counties Survey award considered a top measures of government technology performance

For the fifth year in a row, Baltimore County is ranked among the top ten counties in the nation according to the Center for Digital Government’s 14th annual 2016 Digital Counties Survey in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Among the counties that participated, Baltimore County earned the 6th place ranking in the category for counties with populations of 500,000 or more. The award recognizes counties considered to be “digital leaders” in terms of aligning technology initiatives with strategic priorities to provide significant cost savings and administrative efficiencies.

“We came in seventh place last year and have worked our way up to number six this year, thanks to our highly talented and dedicated technology staff here at the County,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “While the ranking is nice, it’s really gratifying that these outside experts recognize the tremendous strides we have made in harnessing technology to make our government work smarter and more efficiently so we can enhance the services we provide.”  
 

Enhancing lifestyle through technology

This year, the survey recognizes leading counties across the nation that focus their technologies and innovations to enhance the lifestyle of people in the county. Topics in the survey included: transparency in government, mobility and mobile application initiatives, citizen engagement, collaborative initiatives, cybersecurity, hiring and retaining competent staff, broadband and wireless infrastructure, efficiency, resiliency, and the use of innovative and best practices.

Baltimore County will be honored as a top-ranked county at the 2016 Digital Counties Survey Awards Reception during NACo’s Annual Conference & Exposition in Long Beach, California on July 23, and will receive the Digital Counties Survey Award. Additionally, winners will be featured in the Center’s best practices and thought leadership white papers.

The Digital Counties Survey is hosted by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The organization also provides government, education and industry leaders with decision support, research and educational services to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. This survey is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to county governments.


At today’s work session before the County Council, Baltimore County Planning Director Andrea Van Arsdale delivered the following remarks in support of Source of Income legislation under consideration by the Council:

The Administration is requesting adoption of Bill 46-16 which will prohibit housing discrimination based on a person’s legal source of income.

I first want to thank the Council for its serious consideration of this legislation. I know that, like the Administration, you have received a lot of feedback regarding the bill, and your willingness to consider all of these opinions is much appreciated. The bill itself is very straight forward. It would make it unlawful for a landlord or a seller of a dwelling unit to refuse to consider the application of a tenant or homebuyer solely because the person’s income includes a public benefit such as medical assistance, a disability benefit, a housing subsidy, or a gift, pension, annuity, alimony, child support or the sale of property. That is what it is…no more, no less.

Currently, in Baltimore County is it illegal to refuse to rent or sell a home to a person because of race, religion, gender, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, mental or physical disability, or veteran status. With Bill 46-16, we are asking that this same right to fair housing include people whose household income may include a disability payment, a housing choice voucher, a pension, or medical assistance. We have heard in this chamber claims that this would be too bureaucratic, it’s governmental overreach, property values would be harmed, and it isn’t fair. We’ve heard those same arguments throughout this country’s history when African Americans, Catholics, women, Irish, Italians and other immigrant groups, or gay couples tried to relocate to different neighborhoods to better the lives of their families.

When we’ve met with Council members, the main point of discussion has been on the specifics of the Housing Choice Voucher program. Here are a few facts…

·         There are about 6,000 Baltimore County families using Housing Choice Vouchers. That is less than 2% of the total number of households in this County.

·         Most voucher holders have jobs and like many hard working Americans, they get up and go to work every day. The problem is they can’t get enough work or their jobs simply don’t pay enough to meet the housing costs in Baltimore County. And, just like many hardworking Americans these days, they need some help.

·         30% of the County’s voucher holders are elderly and 32% disabled

·         The Housing Choice Voucher program is federally funded, but it is managed on the ground by the Baltimore County Housing Office. There is no forced contract with the federal government. A landlord can easily pick up the phone and contact Marsha Parham, head of the County’s Housing Office, and her staff if there are any questions or concerns.

·         As Ms. Parham has said, the Housing Office screens for eligibility and landlords select for wonderfulness. Landlord may apply any normal tenant review that defines “wonderful” for them such as credit checks, references, criminal background checks, etc. I can’t emphasize this point enough. All of these landlord processes remain in place. Nothing in the bill changes that.

·         There are concentrations of poverty in Baltimore County. This is generally where housing costs are the lowest and where clusters of landlords accept Housing Choice Vouchers. There are other parts of the County where these same landlords will not accept vouchers. Without competition in the market place, people will remain trapped in the same places, areas of poverty will remain unchanged, and grinding disinvestment will continue.

But probably the most important fact is that by discriminating against poorer families, we may be denying their children the opportunity to better their lives and to break the inter-generational cycle of poverty.

In 2015, a Harvard study analyzing tax records from over 5 million children found that where children are raised does have an impact on their chances of moving up economically. In addition, the younger a child is when he or she moves to a neighborhood with more opportunity, the greater the income boost. Neighborhoods matter more for boys than for girls. In 2016, another Harvard study of children moving from low income to middle class neighborhoods was published. It found that children who relocated when they were younger than 13 made 31% more, on average, than their peers whose families were not given vouchers to move. The relocated children were also more likely to attend college and less likely to be single parents.

In closing, I would like to quote President Theodore Roosevelt, who said “In any moment of decision, the best thing we can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing we can do is nothing.”

Thank you very much for your consideration of this very important piece of legislation. 


 
 

Revised April 6, 2016