Bel Air residents petition to stop Super Kmart

December 20, 1992|By Frank Lynch | Frank Lynch,Staff Writer

Nearly 500 Bel Air residents have united in opposition to a proposal to build a Super Kmart Center, a department store and grocery complex on two adjacent properties on Route 24 across from the Motor Vehicle Administration.

Opponents contend the project would send pollutants from construction site runoff into Plumtree Run, worsen traffic on Tollgate Road, bring crime to the community and reduce property values.

Leaders of the Fairwind Farms, Tollgate Estates, Ponderosa and Fox Bow communities are spearheading the fight.

"We plan on mounting an active protest," said Michael V. Treherne. "We hope that other citizens who are concerned about fair and representative government will join us in our fight."

About 500 residents have signed petitions opposing the


Carol Diebel, Bel Air's director of planning and community development, said she first heard of the proposal on Dec. 2.

The owners of the 60-acre commercial tract, Bel Air Land Development II Limited Partnership and Bel Air Land Development V Limited Partnership, told town officials they VTC hoped to develop the Super Kmart complex on nearly 15 of the acres.

Mr. Treherne said he and other community leaders were informed of the plan Dec. 3.

Chester L. Price, a general partner of Bel Air Land Development, said he attended the meeting, and the tone was "more of concern than adversarial." He said Chase Management is already making changes in response to residents' complaints.

The 169,000-square-foot Super Kmart Center would cost $14 million and create about 750 full- and part-time jobs, said a spokesman for the developer.

But before the site can be developed by Chase Management Corp., representing Kmart Corp., the Bel Air Board of Town Commissioners must approve a change in the annexation resolution, which extended the town's corporate boundaries on March 23, 1989.

The original annexation document states that the property would be used for a hotel-motel, convention center, offices, restaurant, bank, bookstore, newsstand and drugstore. It prohibits development of a strip shopping center unless approved by the commissioners.

Mark S. Decker, chairman of the commissioners, plans to introduce a resolution tomorrow night that would allow the Super Kmart Center. A final vote on the measure is set for a public hearing at 7:30 p.m. Jan. 4 at Bel Air Town Hall on Hickory Avenue.

The commissioners meet at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at Bel Air Town Hall.

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