Marriottsvile gas station developers make their case

50,000-square-foot facility would blend with nearby community, attorney says

April 21, 1999|By Nancy A. Youssef | Nancy A. Youssef,SUN STAFF

Developers of a proposed Exxon gas station, convenience store and car wash in Marriottsville told the Board of Appeals last night that the project would blend with the character of the Waverly Woods community.

They also said the project would meet what developers described as a growing demand for gas stations in western Howard County.

The developers, who are represented by attorney David A. Carney, want to build a six-pump station at the intersection of Warwick Way and Marriottsville Road. The station would be part of a 50,000-square-foot facility.

The board's first meeting on the proposal drew about 40 opponents -- including former state Sen. James Clark Jr. -- to the George Howard Building in Ellicott City yesterday. The board approves or rejects requests for special exceptions to zoning laws.

Opponents have contended that the proposed station is too close to the historic Waverly Mansion and does not fit in with the county's 1991 General Plan, which labels the site as an entrance to the Waverly Woods community.

"My impression is that except for this, this is a smart, well-planned community," said Michael P. Tanczyn, who represents C. Edward Walter, president of Historic Waverly Inc.

The proposed project would be about 600 feet from the mansion, which was built in 1761 and was the home of former Gov. George Howard.

But Carney argued that the gas station would "not look like an ordinary station" and its color and design would match the community. Structures in Waverly Woods are mostly beige and designed to resemble 18th-century buildings.

"This is going to have very little visibility from historic Waverly," Carney said.

Carney called on James Giergerich, a Bethesda analyst who studied the site and concluded the area's population would increase 52 percent between 1990 and 2005.

The proposed station would serve about 20,000 people, Giergerich said, adding that the "area is underserved."

Opponents say the intersection is ill-suited for a gas station and the three stations along U.S. 40 are sufficient.

"I don't think there is a need in the community," said Steve Bolin, 32, of Woodstock. U.S. 40 "has a ton of stations," he said.

In a March 24 review, Joseph W. Rutter Jr., director of the Department of Planning and Zoning, did not recommend approval of the proposal, saying it did not coincide with the county's plans for the area and was too close to the Waverly Woods community.

"This is the only residence in the county that is open to the public," Clark said of the mansion. "I think the county has an obligation to protect it." Clark lives about four miles from the proposed project.

The next meeting is scheduled June 1.

Pub Date: 4/21/99

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