Agreement sought on gas station proposal

Project's impact on Waverly Historic Mansion is at issue

June 02, 1999|By Nancy A. Youssef | Nancy A. Youssef,SUN STAFF

Trying to end their conflict, representatives of Waverly Historic Mansion in Marriottsville and proponents of building an Exxon gas station across the street are discussing ways to build it without destroying the 200-year-old mansion's surroundings.

Both sides requested that yesterday's scheduled Board of Appeals meeting on the issue be postponed while they discussed alternatives. The meeting was rescheduled for July 6.

Exxon representatives say they are considering shifting the proposed six-island, 50,000-square-foot facility 100 feet south, landscaping the site -- adding buffers -- and building the station out of materials similar to those used in the mansion.

They say the company might build something else on the site.

The changes would make the station less obtrusive and less visible from the house, said David A. Carney, an attorney representing Exxon.

"We are trying to find something that works for everyone," he said.

They are also considering putting another kind of building -- such as an office building -- on the site instead of the station, said Donald Reuwer, the project manager.

Developing alternatives

Reuwer is developing alternatives and said the negotiators should have a decision by the middle of this month.

The lawyers "are giving themselves a little time to step back," Reuwer said. "We are trying to find something that a reasonable person would conclude doesn't negatively impact Waverly."

The site of the proposed station is at Marriottsville Road and Warwick Road, less than 100 yards from the mansion, which was built in the 1760s.

It was the home of two former Maryland governors, John Eager Howard (1788-1790) and his son, George Howard (1831-1833). It is now owned by the county and open to the public.

"We think the noise, the lighting, the whole idea of a gas station is totally out of keeping with the mansion," said C. Edward Walter, president of Historic Waverly Inc., a preservation group spearheading the opposition.

The group is represented by Towson lawyer Michael P. Tanczyn.

The case came to the Board of Appeals after the Department of Planning and Zoning recommended denying Exxon a special exception to build the station on the property, which is zoned for office use.

The Board of Appeals' first hearing, March 25, drew about 40 opponents, including former state Sen. James Clark Jr.

During his tenure as Senate president, Clark advocated restoration of the home.

Station supporters say it would not look like a typical station but would blend with the mansion and the Waverly Woods residential development.

Those homes are east of the mansion, which is also bordered by the Waverly Woods golf course.

Supporters of the proposal, who include some residents, say the Marriottsville area is developing quickly and that there is a need for a station at the intersection.

Exxon's analysts project the station would serve about 20,000 people.

"We just hope we can maintain Waverly," said Virginia Leache, curator of the mansion. "We are fortunate to be surrounded by a golf course on all the other sides."

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