Shopping center plan for Route 108 may get approval this week

November 24, 1997|By Edward Lee FTC | Edward Lee FTC,SUN STAFF

A plan to build an almost 50,000-square-foot shopping center on Route 108 in Elkridge is nearing approval -- despite worries among local residents about the increase in traffic the center would generate.

Tim Callahan, a planning specialist with the Howard County Department of Planning and Zoning, said the plan for the 5.64-acre site could be approved this week.

A local civic group is concerned that the center will encourage more traffic through an already congested area.

"We're not against development -- in fact, it would be nice to have a grocery store close by," said Dan Goulette, a member of the Mayfield Avenue Community Association and its former president. "But Route 108 is an absolute nightmare when you're trying to go home at night."

The project proposed by Aston Properties Inc., a Charlotte, N.C.-based developer, was submitted to the county in March.

The plan includes building the center on a triangular parcel bordered by Route 108 to the west, Old Waterloo Road to the east and Lark Brown Road to the south.

The center would feature a 37,981-square-foot grocery store, a 10,125-square-foot retail store and a 212-space parking lot.

Food Lion Inc. has reportedly agreed to open a supermarket at the center. The developer is seeking a pharmacy to fill the retail portion.

An appeal in April of a waiver granted to the developer to permit access to Route 108 threatened to derail the plans. Harriet and William Barnes, who live next to the proposed site, contended that the access would adversely impact their property.

But Howard L. Alderman, an attorney representing the Barnes couple, said his clients withdrew the appeal after the developer agreed to buy the adjoining property and add an access lane on Route 108.

To address residents' concerns about traffic, the developer hired a consultant to survey the area. Linthicum Heights-based Street Traffic Studies Ltd. estimated that the center would generate an additional 106 trips during the morning rush hour and an additional 412 trips during the evening rush hour.

But the consultant also noted that the State Highway Administration projects that there will be a 30 percent reduction in traffic on Route 108 when Route 100 opens next year.

Henry Dagenais, president of Long Reach Village Community Association, said his group had sought a median on Route 108 to prevent motorists from making a left turn into the center.

"Anytime you introduce something new, there's some concern," Dagenais said. "But I would say that [the center] would not be a detriment to the community."

Representatives from Aston Properties and Food Lion declined to comment.

Pub Date: 11/24/97

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