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County review planned for Royal Farms in Eldersburg

Carroll County's Technical Review Committee will go over a proposed development plan this week for a Royal Farms store on a long-vacant property on the southwest corner of the busy Liberty Road-Route 32 intersection in Eldersburg.

The committee's initial review of the plan will be held Monday, Aug. 22, in Westminster.

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According to documents filed with the county, the Baltimore-based Royal Farms chain wants to build a 5,125-square-foot convenience store with 16 gas pumps on the site. The owners of the tract, Ioannis and Triantafilos Korologos, of Baltimore, could not be reached for comment.

For years, a liquor store with a drive-through window operated at the corner. And for quite a few years after that business closed, its vacant building stood at the site.

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The Freedom Area Citizens Council, a local community organization, considered the dilapidated building an eyesore — and eventually it was torn down.

According to Clayton Black, the county's chief of development review, the most recent use of the site was as a "staging area" during the State Highway Administration's improvements to the congested intersection.

Ellen Dix, president of the citizens council, said this week she's not thrilled that this prime piece of Eldersburg real estate may soon be home to a convenience store and gas station. She thinks Eldersburg has more than enough gas stations already.

Directly across Route 26, on the southeast corner of the intersection, is a large Exxon station. Dix also pointed out at the nearby Martin's supermarket has gas pumps and offers discount gas prices for its grocery shoppers.

"I'm out every day, and Martin's is always mobbed," she said. "I just don't understand who did the demographic studies for this. Are they going to compete with Exxon? It's like building another pizza parlor here."

Dix also noted that during afternoon rush hour, northbound traffic on Route 26 will not be able to directly access the proposed station, and that access in general could be a challenge at the busy intersection.

Still, Dix acknowledged that the Royal Farms store is "pretty much a done deal" because it fits with county zoning and land-use stipulations.

"From the county's point of view, if somebody comes into town and they have the money and they have the plan and it's in compliance with county codes, they have a legal right to build" she said. "It is zoned for that."

"The only recourse the county really has — and I believe they are working on this — is to make (the store) as eye-appealing as possible," Dix added. "That's an important corner."

The Royal Farms plan will be reviewed by the county's technical review committee at 9 a.m., Monday, Aug. 22, in rooms 003 and 004 of the County Office Building, 225 N. Center Street, Westminster. For details, call 410-386-2145.

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