The Maryland Court of Special Appeals heard arguments Tuesday on whether to grant legal standing to plaintiffs who have filed lawsuits challenging the proposed 25th Street Station development, but it's unknown when the court might decide.
J. Carroll Holzer, the lawyer for plaintiffs Douglas Armstrong and Allen Hicks, said the court could make a ruling to grant standing in as little as 30 days, but that he has been involved in cases that have taken nearly a year to make a ruling.
“It could be 30 days, it could be 60 days, it could be 120 days,” Holzer said.
Holzer said Armstrong has a strong case for being granted standing to challenge the planned unit development granted by the Baltimore City Council because Armstrong, a Remington resident, lives close to the proposed project.
Armstrong can see the project from his home and his property values could be negatively impacted by the development, said Holzer.
The court also heard arguments on whether lawsuits challenging the development brought by Benn Ray, the owner of had standing. The Baltimore City Circuit Court previously threw out both lawsuits.
If the court rules in Armstrong's favor, the case would be sent back to the Baltimore City Circuit Court for trial, Holzer said.
Holzer also refuted allegations that his client’s intent is to delay the project. He said, if anything, the developer has delayed the process by challenging his client’s standing to bring the lawsuit. He said the development would be moving along a lot quicker if the courts could just make a decision based on the project’s merit.
“[Challenging standing] is a fairly common strategy on the part of the developers,” Holzer said.
He said it’s easier to stop someone’s ability to bring a lawsuit then to actually argue a case.
The 25th Street Station Development has been controversial and has split opinions of neighbors in the Remington, Charles Village and Hampden neighborhoods.
Supporters say the development, which will be anchored by Walmart, will create jobs and help revitalize the area. Critics counter the added traffic will lower property values and that it will negatively impact local businesses.
The development suffered a setback earlier this fall when a big box home improvement retailer backed out of the project.