A Development Review Committee hearing scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 19 regarding a proposed Family Dollar store on Sherwood Road in Idlewylde was postponed, a move that allows the community and committee more time to learn about the plans.
The project, which emerged onto the community's radar last week, would put the discount store on an empty wooded lot in the small commercial corridor on Sherwood Road.
According to online county development records, the applicant, Brett Gelbert of the Florida-based Boos Development Group Inc. has requested permission for an 8,240-square-foot Family Dollar store on .89 acres at 6325 Sherwood Road.
Gelbert did not respond to multiple requests on Wednesday, Nov. 20 for comment.
Arnold Jablon, director of the county's Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections, said in an email that it's "not uncommon" for hearings to be delayed to allow the DRC more time to review plans.
The DRC is chaired by Jablon and consists of representatives from the planning, zoning, environmental, public works and, recreation and parks departments, who review proposals for projects that are exempt from submitting development plans or holding community input meetings.
"Stores such as the dollar store are minor commercial structures, which are required to do a development plan but exempt from a community input meeting," Jablon wrote.
However, Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, wrote Jablon on Thursday to request a community input meeting.
The property is zoned BL (business local), which allows for retail, restaurant and banking uses. The stretch of Sherwood Road the store would be located on has several other businesses, including an auto shop, a Domino's Pizza, and the Sherwood Market.
Still, residents are largely opposing the project. John Keenan, president of the Idlewylde Community Association said the lot is currently a wooded area across from Idlewylde Hall.
"I just don't think it fits with that residential and small commercial area," Keenan said. "I think it's way oversized for that. It would definitely be the biggest building in the entire area."
Both Keenan and Jamie Kass, a board member and past president of the Idlewylde association, said that area has been the target of significant improvement efforts by surrounding residents.
We're trying to make it a little more upscale," Keenan said. "It's sort of gone downhill in recent years. We've done some landscaping up there, and we're trying to get the merchants to try and buy in."
"There's just been so much crime in that area, and the feeling is (a Family Dollar) would not be something that would bring up the area," Kass said.
Earlier this month, a 7-Eleven in the 6300 block of Sherwood Road was robbed by a group of men who were later caught and charged with several other commercial armed robberies in Baltimore County, police said. In June, a man was stabbed in the store's parking lot after a passer-by intervened in an altercation between the man and a woman.
According to Keenan, a community member, who regularly checks on proposed local projects at the county's development offices, noticed in the last week the Family Dollar proposal and tipped off community leaders.
Neither Keenan nor Marks, who represents the area, have heard from the developer. Although Keenan said a community member has been assigned to reach out and inquire about specific plans.
"If the developer reaches out to me, I will strongly urge the developer to meet with the Idlewylde Community Association," Marks said in a statement. "It's unfortunate that hasn't happened yet."
Keenan believes the issue will be on the radar of more than just the small Idlewylde community.
"We're going to keep an eye on it, talk to the developer," Keenan said. "Right now, I think the goal of the communities around there, Anneslie, Stoneleigh, Idlewylde or Idlewood, will probably be to speak out and try to get this changed."
When the DRC does consider the project, Jablon said a decision will be made based on the agencies' recommendations, and can be appealed with the county Board of Appeals on the grounds of whether the exemption was warranted.