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County denies company request for gas pumps


The county administrative hearing officer has turned down a Baltimore company's request to add gasoline pumps to a planned expansion of its Severn convenience store.

Cloverland Farms Dairy Inc. wanted to build two pump islands at Route 174 and Telegraph Road, as part of a plan to tear down the existing 1,000-square-foot store and replace it with a 2,880-square-foot structure.

The store expansion is allowed under general commercial zoning, but hearing officer Robert C. Wilcox denied the company's request for variances and a special exception to allow the self-service gas station.

Severn community leaders had opposed the addition of a gas station at the intersection, arguing that the operation would bring more traffic to an already congested area and that the gasoline tanks were too close to Severn-Danza Park, where children play sports. Company and community representatives presented their arguments at a hearing before Wilcox Nov. 19.

In his 10-page opinion issued this week, Wilcox focused on the narrow criteria for variances in his decision, not on community concerns.

He said the property was too small to allow the addition of a gas station with the setbacks required by law but could be used for a convenience store. Therefore, he said, the required setbacks did not pose a "practical difficulty" to the development of the nearly 1-acre parcel.

Zoning laws ban gas stations within 300 feet of a park and pump islands and canopies within 60 feet of a divided highway and require a 50-foot buffer between commercial buildings and land zoned for open space, such as the park.

A variance may not be granted for "financial considerations," according to county law.

A company official and a lawyer representing Cloverland Farms Dairy in the applications did not return calls to their offices yesterday.

The company should find another parcel in Severn on which to build its larger store and gas station, said Mike Shylanski, president of the Greater Severn Improvement Association.

Pub Date: 12/05/96

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