Court upholds construction of shopping complex

Eldersburg residents had protested proposal

February 21, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Carroll Circuit Court has upheld a county zoning board decision that will allow construction of a $32 million shopping and theater complex on Route 32 in Eldersburg.

Judge Raymond E. Beck Sr. issued his decision last week in the case that pitted Eldersburg residents against a Baltimore County developer. The Carroll Planning and Zoning Commission went to court in June after the county Board of Zoning Appeals ruled in favor of Talles-Robbins Development Co., a Pikesville investment company that plans to develop the shopping center.

In what was one of the longest zoning hearings in county history, the board heard more than five days of testimony from residents with well-researched arguments and statistics on security concerns, declining property values and increased traffic on congested Route 32. Traffic consultants estimated the center -- Promenade at Eldersburg -- would generate about 15,000 additional vehicles daily. The center would include a 14-screen movie complex.

The developer said the county's most populous area, with 28,000 residents, could support the venture. He promised $800,000 in road improvements.

The zoning board granted a conditional use in April to allow construction of the center on 36 acres just north of the intersection of Routes 32 and 26, one of the most congested -- and dangerous -- crossings in the county. Beck ruled on the planning commission's appeal of that decision.

At the outset of the court hearing on Jan. 11, Beck decried "the internecine warfare" involving county agencies.

"The county is giving land away to developers," Donna Slack, an Eldersburg resident who has opposed the center throughout the process, said Friday.

"The ruling just destroys Eldersburg," she said. "We did not move here hoping shopping centers would follow us. We don't mind driving to Baltimore County for shopping and movies."

The county commissioners have scheduled a discussion of the court decision at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Pub Date: 2/21/99

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