Request to add 2 gas pumps denied Cloverland sought waiver for convenience store

September 24, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

An Anne Arundel County official has denied a Baltimore corporation's request to convert part of its Pasadena convenience store into a 24-hour self-service gasoline station.

Administrative Hearing Officer Robert C. Wilcox ruled Thursday that Cloverland Farms Dairy Inc. cannot install a two-pump island at its Royal Farms store on Fort Smallwood Road.

Neighbors of the convenience store applauded the decision.

"We're very pleased with it," said Thomas LaMartina, who lives behind the site. "It's too commercial here now. We're pleased to see that someone's listening to us."

Cloverland had asked for an exception to add a two-pump island that would have serviced four cars at one time. The company wanted to build a canopy above the island, a 214-square-foot addition to the front of the store and 22 parking spaces on the 26,790-square-foot lot.

Cloverland needed a waiver from the county to permit the pump island on a parcel having less than 150 feet of frontage along Poplar and Cloverhill roads, which border the site. Cloverland also wanted to obtain a waiver to build the island within 60 feet -- and off-street parking within 20 feet -- of Fort Smallwood Road.

Wilcox did not accept Cloverland's argument that the gas pumps are necessary for the store's economic survival. Wilcox noted that the code prohibits the granting of a zoning variance when the rationale is based on "financial considerations."

"This is strictly a business decision," he wrote in his decision. "Merely because the site may be put to a more profitable use is not the test."

Charles F. Delavan, an Annapolis attorney who represented Cloverland, did not return several phone calls.

Some residents who live near the site said another gas station would have been excessive because there are four other self-service stations within a half-mile.

"We're happy because we didn't think we needed it," said Larry Velten, a member of the Sunset Beach Community Association.

Pub Date: 9/24/96

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