A two-year battle over a proposed gas station in the parking lot of the Bay Forest Shopping Center will continue until at least October.
An Anne Arundel County Circuit Court judge remanded the Board of Appeals' special exception approval back to the board with instructions for further proceedings. The special exception would have allowed the gas station to be built.
"The Board of Appeals will review the remand instructions at its public meeting in October," said city spokeswoman Rhonda Wardlaw. "This may result in further testimony before the Board of Appeals and will of necessity result in a new opinion and order after the Board of Appeals completes proceedings."
Opposition soon mounted from residents of the Fairwinds Condominiums located adjacent to the shopping center.
In December 2010, David Iams, vice president of Fairwinds' board, told Patch he had serious concerns about the project.
“Georgetown Road is woefully inadequate to handle any increase in traffic,” said Iams, and the development plans don’t call for construction of any additional access points.
He also told Patch in 2010 that he was worried that discount gas prices offered to Giant shoppers would lure folks from as far away as Edgewater.
Fairwinds residents demanded a traffic study, but the Board of Appeals ruled against it in May 2011.
Fairwinds' lawyer Thomas Deming said not only was that argument "erroneous," but the proposal goes against the 2009 Annapolis Comprehensive Plan. The plan centers around preserving and enhancing the character of the community, maintaining a flourishing economy and promoting green initiatives.
The lawsuit finally came before Judge Ronald Silkworth this May, and he rendered his decision on July 24.
Silkworth wrote in his opinion that the Board of Appeals failed to provide any reason why a traffic study wouldn't be necessary so he ordered an explanation.
The judge also wrote that the board failed to explain how the special exception for the project wasn't contrary to the 2009 Comprehensive Plan. He wrote that "because the board's decision was based on an erroneous application of the law, the Court does not reach the question of whether there was substantial evidence to support the board's decision."
Despite nearly two years worth of delays, Giant remains hopeful about securing approval for the gas station, said spokesman Jamie Miller in an email.
"We remain ready to collaborate with the Planning Board and the Annapolis community to find a solution that enables us to provide the one-stop shopping convenience of on-site fuel," Miller said.
Ray Sullivan, an organizer for Save Your Annapolis Neck, told Patch that residents just aren't looking for a gas station.
"We'd like to see something there that's more community-based," Sullivan said. "We'd like to see a family restaurant."