Council approves indoor shooting range in Owings Mills

County takes first step toward public financing of Sparrow Point infrastructure

By Phil Marshall
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer

The Baltimore County Council unanimously approved a bill Monday that allows a new indoor shooting range on Red Run Boulevard in Owings Mills.

The business will be newly owned and operated out of a currently vacant building.

“This facility will cater mostly to law enforcement agencies that need training,” Council member Julian E Jones, Jr. D-Dictrict 4, said. “The facility is good for jobs and economic development and will serve as a good place for law enforcement officers to train.”

Under the measure approved by the council, the building must be located more than 500 feet from a principle residential structure. The facility can also sell firearms and firearms-related equipment.

“The facility will also offer self-defense classes, as well as active shooter training,” Jones said.

In other action, the council took the first step towards providing the developer of Sparrow Point with public financing that would be used to improve roads, water lines and other infrastructure in support of a proposed 150,000-square-foot mix use development on the site of a former steel mill in Dundalk.

The council voted 7-0 to adopt a resolution that designates the area along the Patapsco River just southeast of Baltimore as a special development district.

The measure opens the door for the council to eventually use what is known as Tax Increment Financing (TIF) to pay for infrastructure improvements in the area that would benefit the development. Under TIF rules, the bonds issued by the county would be paid back by the increased tax revenue generated by the new development – not the developer.

Tradepoint Atlantic purchased the 3,100-acre site in 2014 and plans to build a shopping center that includes retail stores, restaurants and hotels. In addition, Amazon, Under Armour, FedEx Ground, Pasha Automotive, Access World, Harley Davidson and other tenants will be part of the development, according to the county.

The resolution gives the county up to five years to negotiate a TIF for the site.

Not all council members were happy with the vote.

“If this tax increment fund is approved, it will greatly reduce our revenues in the future,” Council member Wade Kach R-District 3, said. “We have borrowed a lot of money and our spending is going to be reduced to $150 million by 2022-2023.”

Kach was adamant about his concern about the issue and that long-term goals for the community will have to be set at another time. He said  the overall scope of the project will take years to sort out.

“This project has no obligation to Baltimore Country,” Kach said. “This tax increment fund will take a lot of work and time.”

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