Gino's, the legendary burger and chicken eatery, Chick-fil-A and a new apartment complex are well on the way to Aberdeen. And all, including the apartments plan which has more than doubled in size from 84 units when presented to the planning commission in October to 192 units when discussed at Monday night's Aberdeen City Council meeting, are expected to add to existing traffic woes on the busy road.
Gino's, long absent from the local scene, after being created in the image of NFL Hall of Famer Gino Marchetti during the peak days of Baltimore Colts Fever, will soon be opening in the new Corner at Beards Hill shopping center. Two other new projects still in the planning stages for Aberdeen's Beards Hill Road - a Chick-fil-A restaurant and an apartment complex - moved closer to fruition Monday night.
The projects, which would mean three additions to the busy Beards Hill corridor within the past year or so, were the subject of action at Monday night's Aberdeen City Council meeting. City Councilwoman Ruth Ann Young was alone in voting against the preliminary site plan for Chick-fil-A, which was otherwise supported by the council.
She cited traffic concerns, which were likewise expressed by several other council members.
Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck said she has been to Chick-fil-A restaurants from New Jersey to the south and believes the Beards Hill site has potential for some bad traffic, especially if there are accidents.
"There's never been one that hasn't been a traffic nightmare but the product seems to be so good that people put up with the traffic," she said.
Landbeck said some flexible traffic-control poles, similar to ones near ShopRite on Beards Hill or Wawa in Churchville near the Arena Club, will probably have to be installed near the Chick-fil-A at some point.
"I'm not against the site. Heaven forbid, my grandchildren would never speak to me again," Landbeck said, jokingly adding her granddaughter won't live in Aberdeen because it doesn't have a Chick-fil-A or a mall.
Joseph Uciferro, of Bohler Engineering, said the site of the restaurant has two entrances. The restaurant would use the entrance furthest from Route 22 and close the other.
Chick-fil-A also added 0.25 acres to its site, for a total of 1.04 acres, to help it meet city code requirements and make the restaurant fit.
The restaurant would be run by the same owner as the one in Abingdon.
Young got Uciferro to clarify that the project would leave enough parking for the Holiday Inn, which she said "has been an issue for a long, long while."
The restaurant would have 100 seats and be arranged perpendicular to Route 22, Uciferro said.
Cars would be able to travel through the Chick-fil-A site to get to Holiday Inn, he said.
Young added: "I, too, have traffic concerns. Having lived in Aberdeen since 1969, the locals call Beards Hill and Route 22 'Crash Corner' anyway, without your business being there."
"It's gotten somewhat better over the years but I continue to have serious concerns about traffic and your project," she said. "Obviously you want people to come here to enjoy your product and it's going to increase traffic."
Stellmaker also said the company went through 10 different iterations of site plans and is also concerned about minimizing traffic on the site.
"One of the things that we always make sure is we have internal circulation that can be maintained," he said, explaining the site has been maximized in terms of parking and the drive-through stack.
"We are the first ones that care about the safety of our customers. I honestly don't know what else we can do," he said.
The proposed Colony at Beards Hill, a complex of 15 new apartment buildings on the road's north end, was also approved by the city council.
The development grew to 192 units, up from the 84 units presented to the planning commission in October.
The property, which was previously zoned R1 and B3, was rezoned to R3 and B3 earlier this year.
The 15 buildings would be on about 18 acres of a parcel with 26.4 acres total.
The developer is proposing a total of 492 parking spaces, 12 more than required at the city's minimum of 2.5 spaces per unit.
Six of the buildings would be either three or four stories and the remaining nine buildings would all have three stories with 12 units each..
The project would feature a clubhouse with pool and bathhouse as well as an athletic club and a game room.
The developer said the project is very similar to a development called The Summit at Owings Mills, in Baltimore County.