Developer is planning to expand in air center


An article in The Sun for Carroll County on Jan. 10 incorrectly identified the owner of Basically Computers. The Westminster business was purchased by CPS Inc. in August 1993.

The owner of an office building in the Carroll County Air Business Center plans to create a "business campus" of four new buildings on an adjacent lot.

The plan had no opposition at a Westminster Zoning Appeals Board hearing Friday, although a county economic development official expressed concern that retail traffic generated by businesses could make it difficult to attract industry to the center.

William E. Jenne, county economic development administrator, said he was reassured to hear developer Larry D. Piper recognize air business center covenants during the hearing.

The covenants establish a maximum 25 percent retail use for any individual occupant of the air business center, 15 percent

maximum for the entire center.

"There is some concern that the air business center is becoming less of an industrial park and more of an office or commercial park," Mr. Jenne said.

He said car traffic generated by retailers is a negative factor for industry because manufacturers look for road access to get shipments of materials in and products out on tight schedules.

Mr. Piper won the zoning appeals board's approval to consolidate two properties -- an existing building on Business Parkway South that houses Basically Computers, which he also owns, and the adjoining lot.

He must clear site plans through the city planning commission before beginning construction on the first building, which he hopes to start this spring.

Three of the buildings would be 12,000 square feet each; the fourth would be 10,000 square feet. The two lots together make up 6.6 acres.

Mr. Piper said construction would be phased. He does not plan to build until he is assured of 75 percent occupancy.

He said he has a verbal commitment from one tenant that would occupy half of the first building, but declined to identify the tenant until a contract is signed.

The five-member development authority approved Mr. Piper's plan for development of the property about a year ago, Mr. Jenne reported.

"There was a feeling that this was in the spirit of the covenants," he said.

Mr. Jenne said the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) gave up a developer's control when it sold the air business center property to a private industrial developer. But the authority still owns a 3-acre lot in the center.

As a lot owner, the IDA can ensure the enforcement of covenants, he said.

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