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Gas station resolution a 24/7 headache for Baltimore zoning board

A coalition of community groups is appealing a resolution passed by the Baltimore Board of Municipal Zoning Appeals. The resolution concerns the proposed development of a gas station and convenience store at a busy and confusing intersection in a mostly residential part of the city.

The groups are actually appealing two resolutions, the first approving the development with a condition and the second approving the development without the condition. The condition was that the city had to fix the intersection before the 12-pump gas station and its 24-hour convenience store went in.

The development is just wrong for the neighborhood, according to a representative from one of the community organizations. The area is now home to younger families with children, he said, and the gas station just does not fit in with the current retail mix. The convenience store will increase traffic in the neighborhood and put residents, particularly kids, in danger; the site is across the street from a public library and not far from schools.

It is bad enough that the second, "corrected copy" of the resolution does not include anything about the intersection. The main objection to the second resolution is that the board voted on and approved it with a public hearing. Failing to hold a public hearing is a violation of both the Maryland Open Meetings Act and Maryland land use laws, the groups said in its appeal.

The change was made, the groups allege, after the developer called the zoning board to complain about the first resolution. The developer said it would respond in court, not in the press. The zoning board refused to comment on the allegations.

There is no word yet on when the appeal will be heard.

Source: Baltimore Brew, "Change was made after Royal Farms' attorney complained, opponents allege in a Circuit Court appeal," Fern Shen, Aug. 14, 2013