OK of gas pumps at High's draws ire

July 05, 1996|By Kathleen B. Hennelly | Kathleen B. Hennelly,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Some Lisbon residents are furious over the Howard County Board of Appeals' decision to let a High's convenience store have gas pumps at its planned store at Lisbon Center, warning of traffic congestion and competitive damage to other local businesses.

The board approved the pumps 5-0 Tuesday night. Only three of the five members who voted had been present for a June 6 hearing on the issue of having pumps at the store.

"I make my living off of gas sales," said Larry Flickinger, who owns Lisbon Citgo, a gas station three-quarters of a mile from the High's store. "In this case, money talked. I own one store, and High's owns 125 stores. They could put the three existing gas stations in Lisbon out of work and out of business."

High's wants to build a convenience store with a two-pump Texaco station in the Lisbon Center shopping area off Route 94 and north of Interstate 70. The center already has a bank, several fast-food restaurants, a grocery store, a liquor store and a video store.

Residents in the area -- who already object to the High's store -- complain that gas pumps at Lisbon Center would increase the number of accidents at an already dangerous intersection.

Cynthia Brennan, a representative of the community who gathered more than 400 signatures on a petition against the High's store, said there have been five serious accidents at the intersection of Route 94 and Lisbon Center Drive.

"This is our community, and we should have a say in what goes here," said Brennan. "We feel that we met the standard set by the county to show that this new business is not needed here or wanted here, but they've ignored us."

Residents also are worried about crime, loitering youths and drugs.

"It is a well known fact that High's attracts crime," said Brennan. "I heard of an incident the other day where a guy robbed a High's for a pack a cigarettes."

Brian Darnell, the vice president of the Baltimore-based High's chain, refused to comment Wednesday.

But Flickinger said he may appeal the board's decision in court. He and other residents disputed claims that High's had made to the board. The claims include High's estimates of the amount of gasoline sold by existing stations and expectations of how much pTC gas sales would grow.

Brennan said that she and the community would support a possible court challenge to the appeals board decision.

Pub Date: 7/05/96

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