Appeals board OKs proposed post office but with condition Panel, postal officials differ over entry road


South Carroll residents will have to wait a little longer to learn whether they are going to get a new post office at Route 32 and Bennett Road.

The Board of Zoning Appeals voted unanimously yesterday to allow a post office to be built on the 3-acre site in the northwest corner of the Eldersburg Business Center -- but only on condition that the entrance be from Progress Way.

The decision leaves postal officials in a quandary, because they want to enter and exit the post office from Bennett Road, a thoroughfare county planners say is designed for residential use only.

"I don't know whether we're going to stay with this site or not," said Gordon P. Seabury Jr., manager of postal operations for Western Maryland after yesterday's three-hour hearing.

"I just can't say at this point in time. We always try to do what the community prefers, but less than 10 people showed up in a community of 11,000. By law, we are not required to abide by this decision," he said.

Westminster attorney William B. Dulaney, representing Leroy M. Merritt, owner of Eldersburg Business Center, told the Board of Zoning Appeals that the federal government is exempt from local zoning regulations. The U.S. Postal Service was being a good citizen by participating in the zoning process, he said.

Residents testifying yesterday said they want a post office at the site, but not with the entrance the Postal Service plans. Progress Way was intended to be the only access road for businesses within the park, they said.

"The new address of the post office is 1380 Progress Way, not Bennett Road," said Bennett Road resident Robert Nichols. "The purpose of Progress Way is to assure that there was no industrial or business access on residential streets. If we allow one, that will be the foot in the door. We can't let one have access on Bennett Road. Not one."

Dulaney told the county Planning and Zoning Commission earlier this month that he wanted the appeals board to hear the case this month because $2.5 million to $3 million in federal money allocated for the project must be used by mid-September.

If not, the Sykesville post office -- which would be replaced by the Eldersburg facility -- would have to apply for federal money again and compete with other projects, Dulaney said.

Pub Date: 8/30/96

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