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Flea market owner faces county action


The Howard County Board of Appeals will decide next month whether the former site of the Elkridge Drive-In will remain a flea market.

The Department of Planning and Zoning accused Columbia developer Barry Mehta -- who owns the 17-acre parcel off U.S. 1 and Bonnie View Lane -- of failing to make required site improvements, such as paving the parking lot and fencing the trash area.

During a four-hour hearing on Tuesday, Mr. Mehta said he complied with the conditions of the special exception, but planning and zoning officials chose to interpret the conditions too strictly. He said the parking lot did not require repaving and the trash area was eventually fenced.

Despite community opposition, Mr. Mehta received a special exception to run the flea market in July 1994. The land is zoned for office-type uses, such as nursing homes, banks, medical offices and laboratories.

Mr. Mehta intended to use 5 acres of the parcel for the flea market, but said during the hearing that only one-tenth of an acre was actually used once the business opened April 2, and only eight cars were on the parking lot at any one time.

"It really has been an unsuccessful venture so far," he said, adding that the county was too hasty in requesting the revocation. "If approval is revoked, it'll be bad for the community because it'll go back to an abandoned property."

The Board of Appeals will decide whether to revoke the special exception during a working session Nov. 7.

Police log

Elkridge: 6300 block of U.S. Route 1: A green, 1986 Buick Century with Maryland tags CDF-408 was stolen from outside the Hillside Motel Tuesday.

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