About 7,000 new residents are expected to move into houses in the emerging Seven Oaks development in Odenton, and they're going to need aplace to shop for groceries. But plans for a Giant Food store are onhold until the developer, Warren E. Halle, gets county clearance to consolidate land under a commercial zoning designation.
About 3.5 of the 20 acres slated for a neighborhood shopping center is zoned for residential use, a designation the county and developer say was a mistake made during the county's 1988 comprehensive rezoning. The remaining 16.5 acres of the planned unit development at routes 175 and 32were zoned to allow commercial uses.
Representatives of the Silver Spring-based company went before anadministrative hearing officer yesterday, trying to convince him of the mistake in the rezoning process.
Halle, which last year started to build Seven Oaks, has plans to build the grocery store and othershops on the 20-acre site. The development is a mixture of town houses, apartments and single-family homes on 590 acres.
The company is also one of three developers planning to build Town Center, a 218-acre project on Route 32 opposite Seven Oaks that could have a mall, office buildings, restaurants and cinemas.
The land needed for the Giant is a small strip located in the northeast portion of the 20-acre site, just east of Route 175 along Blue Water Boulevard.
Kevin Dooley, a zoning analyst for the county's Office of Planning and Zoning, said the 3.5 acres should bear the commercial zoning so that it matches the rest of the property.
"Maybe the information submitted wasn't correct," Dooley said. "The intention was to zone it commercialup to the flood plane. It just wasn't done when the plans were submitted."
He said the flood plane, which runs along the northern edgeof the 20-acre parcel, serves as a natural buffer between the proposed shopping center and the residential neighborhood.
Thomas Ross, the administrative hearing officer, has 30 days to issue a decision. No one spoke in opposition to Halle's request.
The decision does not give Halle permission to build the shopping center, however. The company still needs to submit detailed plans to the county and go through at least one more public hearing before beginning construction.