Northeast Baltimore residents fight to block Royal Farms store and gas station

Northeast Baltimore residents are appealing a city zoning decision allowing a Royal Farms store and gas station to be built in Hamilton, saying the store would create traffic hazards and disrupt the residential neighborhood.

Members of three neighborhood associations said in a statement Tuesday they oppose a 24-hour operation with 12 gas pumps that would be located across Harford Road from an Enoch Pratt library branch, at a "dangerous" five-way intersection and too close to homes, churches and schools. They are challenging a city Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals ruling from earlier this year.

"This station is just bad all the way around," Julie Saylor, an area resident, said in the statement. "We have set a goal of the Harford Road corridor to reduce auto traffic and emissions in favor of a walkable and family-friendly district — and the megastation ain't it."

A Royal Farm representative could not be reached Wednesday.

The city zoning board granted Royal Farms a zoning variance April 2. The neighborhood groups, along with 11 residents, filed an administrative appeal May 22 in Baltimore Circuit Court. The plaintiffs filed a memorandum last month supporting their appeal. In the memo, the residents accuse the zoning board of violating state open meetings law when it reversed a variance condition on June 3 with no hearing or public notice. The condition called for the reconstruction of the intersection.

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