Zoning Board clears way for convenience center


The county Zoning Board has voted to rezone part of a Cooksville farm on Route 97 for a small convenience center and a gasoline station.

The ruling will grant the Brice Ridgely family the county's first rural business zoning, a category created by the the board in 1992.

The decision on the 13.9-acre parcel, which is now zoned rural conservation, will become final after Zoning Board members sign a written decision.

The zoning change was allowed because it is "a business that is directly related to agriculture," said Councilman Charles C. Feaga, a Republican who represents west county.

Mr. Feaga said the board also seemed impressed with the fact that the Ridgely family had already put about 200 acres of their beef cattle farm into the county's farmland preservation program.

The farm is owned by Brice, Mary Anne, Stephen and William Ridgely, whose family has farmed the site since the 1940s.

Plans for the center include a facility to repair tractors and other farm equipment; a tack shop run by Brice Ridgely's two sons; and possibly a deli, flower shop, video store or bank.

The family has been selling sweet corn and other produce from a stand by the side of the road for about 20 years and may continue if the center is developed.

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