Fairwinds Challenges Giant Gas Station Decision

The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County heard arguments about whether the Board of Appeals should reconsider allowing a gas station at the Bay Ridge Shopping Center.

Fairwinds Condominiums residents are fighting back against a Board of Appeals decision to at the Bay Ridge Shopping Center.

The would be located on the parking lot of the and would also be owned and operated by the supermarket.

On Monday afternoon, a hearing was held at the to determine if the case should be remanded to the board for additional consideration.

Thomas Deming, a lawyer for Fairwinds, argued that the board's decision was "erroneous" because proper traffic studies weren't conducted by the city and the proposal ran counter to the 2009 Annapolis Comprehensive Plan, which outlines the city's direction for the next 10 years. The plan is centered on the ideas of preserving and enhancing the character of the community, maintaining a flourishing economy and promoting green initiatives.

"This application was not supported by information required by law," Deming said.

He specified that the board used a standard included in the 1998 Comprehensive Plan, which is outdated.

Alan Hyatt, an attorney for the developer, said that though the board was incorrect in citing the previous standard, all legal applications made were accurate.

"The request did comply with [the current] comprehensive plan," Hyatt said.

Assistant City Attorney Gary Elson added that because the gas station received a, the traffic studies weren't required.

"There was no error of law," Elson said.

Deming countered that even under the law pertaining to special exceptions, traffic studies to determine congestion, look at access roads and analyze ingress and egress traffic are necessary.

Michele Cross, president of the Fairwinds Board of Directors, said the gas station would hurt business for the six already existing gas stations in a three-mile radius of the area.

"It would be a disaster if a gas station was put there," Cross said.

Ray Sullivan, an organizer for Save Your Annapolis Neck, a community activist group, said that the gas station runs counter to the Comprehensive Plan's directive to make the city more green.

"We'd like to see something there that's more community-based," Sullivan said. "We'd like to see a family restaurant."

Anastasia Hopkinson, who is also with Save Your Annapolis Neck, said the gas station would further exacerbate the traffic congestion in an already burdened area.

"This is already a failed system," she said.

Judge Ronald Silkworth said he would take the information from the hearing under advisement and announce a decision at a later date.

Karen Essen May 08, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Don't forget that literally only a few hundred feet away, Key School has plans to build a massive development in Annapolis Roads. Which will kill off the quality of life there. Legally they're not allowed to, but no worries, rich developers ALWAYS get their way in Anne Arundel County!
Jeffrey May 09, 2012 at 02:00 AM
What's really crazy about this is that the main entrance to the shopping center is on Georgetown Road. The ihe intersection of Victor Parkway and Georgetown Road is a major pedestrian route for people not only in Fairwinds, but also in the adjoining Victor Haven neighborhood. The city never did ANY traffic study of Georgetown Road whatsoever, only a cursory study of the intersection of Bay Ridge Road and Georgetown Road based on traffic standards that were out of date and do not address rewards-based stations. The burdon of proof is on the developer to demonstrate that the special exception will have no adverse impact on any surrounding property, will not create a negative impact on the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the jurisdiction. How can they do this without a traffic study that addresses the rewards-based model or without a traffic study whatsoever? The city obviously did not do its due diligence in this case.
Amy Leahy May 09, 2012 at 12:27 PM
There are already two gas stations within a stone's throw of the proposed one. Seems like overkill but at the same time with the price of gasoline why wouldn't a developer build a gas station instead of a restaurant?
Mike May 09, 2012 at 08:56 PM
This is just an insane poposal. I'm sure you have been in the traffic back up on Edgewood road while trying to turn left on Bayridge road. We certainly don't need another 7 / 11 type of store, nor a gas station. Maybe we should have a Charging station for all the new electric cars that are coming.


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