Council approves Vanguard’s plan for Government Center
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 13:49

The controversy of the North Point Government Center sale has spilled over to the County Council race between Joe DiCara and Todd Crandell.

 by Ben Boehl

    The Baltimore County Council voted 6-0 in favor of a resolution to approve Vanguard Commercial Development’s plan to redevelop the North Point Government Center. Of the seven members of the council, 3rd District Councilman Todd Huff was not present for the vote at the July 7 meeting.
    Councilman John Olszewski, Sr. told The Eagle in June that the plan is not final and that Vanguard is going through a typical PUD process.
    “This [resolution] allows the process to move forward,” Olszewski said a few weeks before the vote.
    As they have done in the past, members of the opposition group, Dundalk United, attended a council work session on July 1 to argue against the sale. However, it appears that the work session has become a political battle between the candidates vying to replace Olszewski.
    Republican Todd Crandell testified against the resolution.
    Crandell said that the process was “fundamentally flawed from the beginning and exposes flaws in the PUD process in general.”
    In his statement, Crandell added that the people of Dundalk feel as if they were  sold out and treated unfairly.
    “The people of Dundalk asked me to stand up for them and I did,” Crandell said on why he decided to testify at the work session.
    “I have been critical of the process and disagree entirely with policy that sells off public parks and recreation assets to private interests.”
    Crandell was critical of opponent Democrat Joe DiCara for attending the event without giving any testimony on the subject.
    “My opponent has never been clear on this issue,” Crandell said.
    “Maybe that’s why he did not testify when he had the chance — either he doesn’t know where he stands, or he doesn’t want voters to know where he stands.”
    Tony DiCara, the Democratic candidate’s son and campaign manager, responded that Joe DiCara is opposed to the plan and the process by which it was presented to the community, but is not sure if the next councilman will be able to stop the sale.
    “It appears that the current councilman and the administration want to get this done in a hurry, and at this point I’m not sure what can stop it,” Tony said.
    According to Tony, his father was at the July 1 work session to support the community but did not feel it was the time or place for politics.
    “He did not speak for two reasons. First, his opposition to this plan is well documented and known to members of the council as well as the community members who were in attendance,” Tony said.
    “Second, [Joe] believes very strongly that these forums are not the proper place for politicians to make self-serving political speeches. This was an opportunity for members of the community who are directly impacted by this project to make their opinions heard.”