“Probably the Worst Piece of Legislation I’ve Ever Seen”

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The proposed 28-acre Harbor Point development project — which the Baltimore Sun points out would essentially create a whole waterfront neighborhood out of thin air — has attracted hordes of naysayers.

Not only do many question the economic and employment projections of the project (some of the “new” jobs would really be old jobs relocated from other neighborhoods, and the economic boost of Harbor Point may come partly at the expense of other business districts), but they also object to the $107 million in assistance from the city in the form of tax increment financing.

Downtown property owners largely oppose the tax deal, and Baltimore clergy gave the developers a long list of demands to put money toward various community programs before they would give their endorsement.

The Baltimore Business Journal described yesterday’s city council vote on the deal as “raucous” and the chambers as “packed” with opponents. And in spite of it all, the bill passed 11-3. (It heads now to a final vote.)

We had Councilman James Kraft shutting down the Fells Point Residents Association — his own constituents. And Councilman Carl Stokes (one of the three nays) called it “probably the worst piece of legislation I’ve ever seen.”

Whether or not the Harbor Point TIF is a good deal for Baltimore, it’d be nice if the city council could wait to get the community on board instead of simply steamrolling the opposition.

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