Shopping center foes to consider joining zoning approval appeal Residents and merchants to discuss Eldersburg site

June 18, 1998|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,SUN STAFF

Residents and merchants opposed to a proposed $32 million shopping center in Eldersburg will meet with their attorney today to decide whether to join the planning commission in its appeal of a May 29 decision approving the project.

"Personally, I feel there are some very legitimate appeal issues, especially in the [May 29] written decision" of the county Board of Zoning Appeals, Westminster attorney Michelle Ostrander said yesterday.

The planning commission voted in closed session Tuesday to appeal the county Board of Zoning Appeals' decision to allow a developer to build the Promenade at Eldersburg near the busy intersection of Routes 26 and 32.

If Ostrander's clients ask her to pursue the case, she will file a "notice to participate," which would allow her to become "a full and active participant" in the case, Ostrander said.

"I would participate in the pleading at the Circuit Court level and if any settlement were reached, I would be a party to that," she said.

An out-of-court settlement is a possibility.

Planning Commission Chairman Thomas G. Hiltz of Woodbine expressed concern before Monday's closed discussion with the commission's attorney that the appeals board's order might preclude the commission from imposing conditions on the site plan.

The planning commission routinely conducts hearings to determine whether site plans are consistent with the master plan used to guide the county's growth. If a site plan is not consistent with the master plan, the commission imposes conditions that would make it consistent.

The zoning for the Promenade property is industrial, but the appeals board ruled that the shopping center could be allowed as a conditional use.

The deadline for asking the Circuit Court to rule on the appeals board decision is June 29, so it was important to discuss the issue as soon as possible, Hiltz said.

To keep their options open, commission members voted unanimously, but "as more information becomes available, we may reconsider our position and re-evaluate our appeal," Hiltz said.

The county has issued Promenade a zoning certificate, attorney William B. Dulany said, that would allow Bernard G. Robbins to develop a site plan and move it through the county bureaucracy.

But Robbins is waiting to receive written notification of the appeal, Dulany said, before deciding whether to move forward with his plans to put a 300,000-square-foot retail complex, a two-story office center, and a 14-screen movie theater on the site.

Paperwork on the appeal is likely to take about three months, which means that a judge probably would not hear the case until October.

Pub Date: 6/18/98

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