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Shopping center proposal raises concerns in Eldersburg


Several South Carroll residents are asking whether Eldersburg, home to a failing mall and vacant storefronts, needs another retail hub along Route 26, the area's congested main artery.

The proposed Princess Shopping Center, a $5 million retail complex, is raising concerns among neighbors who fear increased traffic congestion and an added burden on the county's strained water and sewer system.

Plans for the center are proceeding through the county review process. It would be built next to Holy Trinity Cemetery on 9 acres at Routes 26 and 32. Members of the county's Subdivision Advisory Committee and the developer described the plan Friday at a public meeting in Westminster.

"We hope to open within a year, depending on the weather and the time it takes to get through the permitting process," said Michael Stavlas, president of Stavlaou LLC, the Linthicum company that owns the site.

"At this point, we have no signed leases, but we're talking to Bob Evans, Applebee's, CVS and Weis Markets," he said.

If it is built, the Princess Shopping Center will contain about 98,000 square feet of retail space in five buildings, according to plans filed with the county.

"In this area, where we already have a glut of traffic, failing businesses, and water and sewer problems, I question whether it's wise to [build] this," said Dale Reid, a local attorney.

Friday, county officials ordered Stavlas to complete a market study demonstrating the need for the center, to develop plans for adequate parking and lighting, and to complete a traffic study.

They also encouraged Stavlas to draft plans for a fence and bushes that would shield the shopping center from Holy Trinity Cemetery.

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