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Elkridge rezoning sought to allow shopping center


Residential land on Meadowridge Road in Elkridge would give way to a shopping center under a rezoning petition filed last week.

The petition asks for general business zoning for 11 acres on the east side of Meadowridge Road between the Woodland Village and Brightfield communities. The land, owned by Ashan and JoAnn Khan of Ellicott City and Richard and Carol Boyer of Baltimore, is now zoned for clustered detached houses.

The request was accompanied by a site plan for Fox Hunt Center, which would include a 38,000-square-foot grocery store, 18,000 square feet of retail space and a separate bank, gas station and fast food restaurant.

Because the petition was filed under the county's site-plan rezoning process, it could be rejected by the County Council, sitting as the Zoning Board, even if the zoning change is legally justified. The site plan rezoning, if granted, would make the shopping center plans binding.

To make a legal case for the change, a petitioner must prove either a mistake in current zoning or a change in the character of the neighborhood since the 1985 comprehensive rezoning.

The Kahns, who filed the petition, argue that the residential zoning was a mistake in that the Zoning Board failed to consider the pending Route 100 project. Route 100, which may not be built for five years, would border the land to the north.

They also argue that Route 100 has changed the character of the neighborhood. The land cannot be reasonably used for homes because of noise and other problems associated with proximity to a highway.

A traffic study with the petition estimates that with the current zoning, 50 homes could be built on the property. The construction of a shopping center would add nearly 300 car trips a day to the area.

Planners in the county Department of Planning and Zoning will issue a recommendation on whether to grant or deny the petition. The county Planning Board will then hear testimony on the petition and issue its own recommendation to the Zoning Board.

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