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Shopping center access Mount Airy focus


Mount Airy residents concerned with a developer's proposal to create shopping center access onto Main Street will meet with the State Highway Administration on Wednesday.

Citizens for a Better Mount Airy asked state Del. David R. Brinkley, a Frederick County Republican, to be the moderator for the discussion, which will be limited to road issues. State road officials from the Baltimore and Frederick offices will participate.

"The SHA will be there to discuss access issues only," Brinkley said. "It has no interest in Mount Airy's land-use and zoning issues."

The discussion will center on proposed access for Mount Airy Shopping Center onto Main Street (Route 808).

"The meeting will be a community information exchange, specifically about the highway department's role in the development of this property," said Linda Boyer, member of the citizens group and a Main Street resident.

Gary Rappaport, the new owner of the 22-year-old center, plans to develop 14 acres behind the shops for a large retailer. Wal-Mart, the nationwide chain store, has expressed interest in the property, but it is facing resistance from area residents.

A site plan submitted to the town this week shows the entrance onto Main Street, north of Ridgeville Boulevard.

"After all the comments we have made against this access, we are concerned that the town is even entertaining it," said Boyer.

The plan is subject to county and town review before it goes to Mount Airy Planning Commission.

ZTC Rappaport also has asked the state to reopen two-way access to Route 27 for the center and has collected 1,200 signatures from merchants and residents who support the proposal. Both plans require state approval.

"I would like to see a final solution to that center's access onto Route 27," said Brinkley. "But SHA is not meeting to define what the town wants. Its purview is permits to the highways."

Dual access to Route 27 is the only way to revitalize the 22-year-old center, Rappaport said. Shoppers can enter from Route 27, but cannot leave by the same route. They must exit on Ridgeville Boulevard, which many have called a dangerous crossing.

The meeting is at 7: 30 p.m. Wednesday at the American Legion Post, 801 Prospect Road. Information: 301-831-7113.

Pub Date: 9/11/98

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