Developer reiterates area's need for gas station

About 100 attend meeting on project

April 07, 1999|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

An attorney for the developer of a proposed gas station in rural Glenwood maintained again last night that the project at Route 97 and Carrs Mill Road is necessary for the fast-growing population of western Howard County.

"This is the only B2 [commercial] zoning in that corridor," said David A. Carney, representing the developer. "It's the only logical location for gas service."

Carney spoke at a Howard County Board of Appeals meeting on the Freestate gas station. The meeting was postponed last month when the room scheduled for the hearing was too small for the 200 people who showed up to oppose the project.

Last night, about 100 people attended the meeting in a larger room at the George Howard Building in Ellicott City.

Opponents argue that putting 10 pumps dispensing gasoline, diesel fuel, and kerosene on 5.4 acres of land at the northwest corner of Route 97 and Carrs Mill Road is at odds with the pastoral nature of the community.

Residents are expected to continue their fight at the board's next meeting, which is Tuesday.

"You can't put 10 pounds of flour in a 5-pound sack," said Jack Milani, a resident of the Glenwood Springs community. "It just doesn't fit there."

The hearing was supposed to begin March 2, but board Chairman Jerry L. Rushing postponed it after an unexpected crowd jammed a small meeting room. The Banneker Room, which is used by the County Council, accommodated the smaller crowd last night.

Glenwood LLC is proposing to build the gas station as part of a larger plan to develop a 30,000-square-foot retail center that would front county-owned property that is the future home of a 180-acre park, a 36,000-square-foot community center and a library.

The shopping center, which would model a Columbia-style village center, would also include a 3,000-square-foot bank and a 184-space parking lot.

The B2 zoning permits a retail center, but Glenwood LLC must obtain a special exception for the gas station.

Developer D. Ronald Brasher testified that the gas station and retail center would mix with the county's proposed uses and the surrounding residential community.

"This can literally be a village center," Brasher said. "If I thought that this would have an adverse effect, our partnership would not be doing this."

Roy Sutton, a consultant from Mid-Atlantic Petroleum Services in Richmond, Va., told the board that the planned installation of double-walled tanks and pipelines would act as a safeguard against leakage into area groundwater.

Carney also called on about 20 people to stand up in support of the gas station.

Tom MacCallum, a Cooksville homeowner who said he lives about a mile from the proposed site, pointed out that two gas stations in nearby Glenelg offer gas about 6 cents cheaper than the lone gas station on Route 97.

"Having another station in the area is going to provide competition and lower prices," he said.

Opponents claimed that some supporters of the plan don't live in the area, and others pointed out that a Citgo station less than a mile from the proposed site meets their needs.

"It never has a line [of customers]," said Diana Poole, a resident of the Country Springs community. "I can pull up morning, afternoon or night, pump my gas, grab some milk and go."

Fred Hildebrand argued that the gas station would attract commuter and tractor-trailer traffic to the area.

"The intent of that station is to draw people off [Interstate] 70," said Hildebrand, who lives in Glenwood Springs. "We've already got too much traffic there now. Bringing traffic off 70 only exacerbates the problem."

Milani questioned why the developer is seeking a special exception.

"He knew what he was buying when he bought the property," Milani said. "I don't think we should be made to suffer for his attempt to maximize his site."

Pub Date: 4/07/99

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