A much-anticipated meeting aimed at airing environmental and health concerns stemming from the proposed $1 billion construction of Harbor Point has been postponed due to the federal government shutdown.
City Councilman Jim Kraft (1st District) said this morning he was rescheduling the Monday (Oct. 7) community meeting to a future date because representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would not be able to attend. Nearly all employees at the agency have been sent home due to the budget impasse in Washington.
“Without their participation, the purposes of the meeting cannot be fully met,” Kraft said, adding that he has asked developer Michael Beatty to refrain from “breaking ground on the project until the meeting can be held and all outstanding questions can be asked and answered.”
Near End of a 60-Day Review
EPA and the Maryland Department of the Environment (DOE) are near the end of a 60-day review of Beatty’s plans to resolve any hazardous conditions arising from the piercing of the site’s membrane cap – containing more than 2 million tons of chromium-contaminated soil – to build the foundation of the 22-story Exelon Tower.
The Brew has detailed Beatty’s environmental plans (here), designed to meet a consent decree hammered out by the EPA, DOE and Honeywell International, the current owner of the former Allied Chemical chromium works.
A number of Fells Point residents have questioned whether the plans will adequately protect the community and surrounding harborfront from the intense level of construction proposed by Beatty over the next 10 years.
Pressure to Break Ground
EPA and MDE officials signaled, at an open house sponsored by Beatty last month, that they were satisfied with the “Detailed Development Plan” submitted by Beatty’s consulting engineers, Mueser Rutledge. Robert Greaves, remedial project manager for EPA Region 3, told The Brew that the agency hoped to complete its review by the first week of October.
Beatty is under pressure to start construction of the Exelon Tower as soon as possible.
Under an agreement with Constellation Energy – which has pre-leased most of the building (additional space will be used for apartments, the developer disclosed last week) – the tower and an adjoining trading floor must be completed between June and September 2015.
Following passage of a $107 million city bond plan to help finance the project, Beatty floated the idea of breaking ground by October 15.