The Howard County Planning Board unanimously endorsed yesterday a developer's plan to build a gas station in Glenwood that is a precursor for a Columbia-type village center -- a concept that is drawing concern from community residents.
The board also unanimously recommended for approval a proposed 8,240-square-foot day care center on Route 103 near Route 104 in Ellicott City.
The Board of Appeals will make a final decision on the gas station proposal March 2 and on the day care center plan March 9.
Glenwood LLC wants to build a 30,000-square-foot retail center and a gas station on 5.4 acres at the northwest corner of Route 97 and Carrs Mill Road. The site fronts county-owned property that is the future home of a 180-acre park, a 36,000-square-foot community center and a library.
Several homeowners who attended yesterday's meeting said they are worried that the commercial project will open the door to more business development.
"It's going to change the whole character of the neighborhood," said Clifton Clevenger, who owns a farm nearby. "People are going to think that commercial space is more important than open space."
But the center's owner and developer, D. Ronald Brasher, said the plan will be compatible with the future county park and community center.
"We hope it will be in concert with the other project," he said. "We do want to be good neighbors."
The proposed gas station would offer 10 pumps dispensing gasoline, diesel fuel and kerosene. Brasher said Freestate Oil, which has signed a letter of intent to operate the station, would not be permitted to operate a convenience store there.
Brasher sought to assure the five-member board and residents that the configuration of the site would not allow tractor-trailers to fuel up and that lighting would be dimmed and pointed away from residential areas.
The board agreed that the gas station -- and accompanying shopping center -- could benefit the area.
"When the county acquired the other property for the park, I think [the developers] were looking at this as a village center type," said board member Joan Lancos. "I can see that there would be a need to put a gas station at a destination site."
But Angela Butler, who lives in Dayton, pointed out to the board that there is another gas station about seven-tenths of a mile away, on Route 97.
"This is a rural area," she said. "That area is not grown up enough that it warrants two gas stations within seven-tenths of a mile from each other."
Clevenger predicted that planners could be seeing a lot of rezoning requests from landowners. "A lot of people out there are holding on to their land so they can change [the zoning] and go commercial," he said. "This will set a bad precedent."
Pub Date: 2/12/99