Carroll County Bank and Trust Co.'s plan to move its Eldersburg branch to the corner of routes 26 and 32 cleared a major hurdle yesterday.
The Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission agreed to subdivide a 2.75-acre lot from a 15-acre parcel at the intersection's northeast corner. The Westminster-based bank is negotiating to buy the smaller tract to consolidate offices at 1438 Liberty Road and 6210 Georgetown Blvd.
Before the project can proceed, though, the bank must receive conditional use approval from the county Board of Zoning Appeals to allow a banking facility on the tract, which is zoned for industrial use. A board hearing is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. June 24.
"This property at the corner appealed to us, and we're trying to go through the step-by-step process," Lee Primm, senior vice president, said yesterday after the meeting.
"This is just one step. The Eldersburg area is a rapidly growing area. It's a market we've been in for years, and we have a constituency there we wish to serve."
He said the bank doesn't have detailed plans for the proposed facility available yet.
William B. Dulany, the bank's board chairman, told the commission that the bank has outgrown its Eldersburg branch, which opened at another site in 1974, and is losing customers who don't want to deal with traffic congestion there.
"This [new site] is something that just dropped out of the air," Mr. Dulany said.
County planners recommended approval of the subdivision but raised concerns about the impact such commercial development would have. Initial sketch plans for the site called for access off routes 26 and 32.
Bill Jenne, the Office of Economic Development administrator, told the commission he had "mixed emotions" about the project.
He said he was concerned about traffic, and noted that Londontown Corp. has complained for a long time about the need for a traffic light at Route 32 and Londontown Boulevard, just north of the intersection of routes 32 and 26.
Mr. Jenne also said he didn't want commercial activity to hinder development of the industrial area to the north.
"There are lot of issues surrounding this project," he said.
Mr. Jenne said the issue of access could be resolved by creating a joint road for the bank and the rest of the property, which is being bought by Security Development Corp. of Ellicott City.
Bank officials asked for temporary access directly to the bank until the rest of the property is developed.
Security Development Corp. has no immediate plans to develop the site, a company official said.
County officials said access to the bank would be determined during review of site plans.
"It's very early and a lot of the details are to be decided," said Franklin G. Schaeffer, chief of the county's Bureau of Development Review.