Eldersburg: The Text Amendment That Doesn’t Make Any Sense

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Later this evening – at 6 PM in Room 003 of the Carroll County office building at 225 North Center St. in Westminster – the County’s Planning and Zoning Commission is having a hearing at which the Commission will discuss a “text amendment.”

This text amendment would alter the language of B-NR zoning (Business – Neighborhood Retail) to accomplish the following…

  • Increase maximum store size on B-NR property tenfold, from 10,000 SF to 100,000 SF
  • On all B-NR properties in the County
  • Just to accommodate a grocery store chain (LIDL, pronounced “leedle”) that wants to open a single grocery store on just one B-NR property, near the intersection of Sykesville and Liberty Roads in Eldersburg.

    Proposed Site of New LIDL Grocery Store

    Here’s a Google Maps view of the LIDL property. Standing on Liberty Road (Rt. 26), facing south, the Shoppers is to your right and the new ALDI will be behind you, on the north side of Liberty Road.

If and when it opens, this new LIDL will become the seventh grocery store in an already over-crowded market. According to the LIDL site plan, the new LIDL will have 36,185 SF which is, obviously, far less than the 100,000 SF maximum that is in the text amendment.

So, why make this change for all B-NR zoned properties in the County? Raising the maximum store size to 100,000 SF when the LIDL needs less than 40,000 SF?

Forget about whether or not Eldersburg actually needs or can support a seventh grocery store and the impact this additional store may have on other grocery store-anchored shopping centers nearby. The questions for tonight’s hearing are…

  • Why alter the language for all B-NR zoning in the County?
  • Why increase the maximum store size all the way to 100,000 SF, with what impact on other neighborhoods around the County?

And, perhaps, most importantly…

  • Why weren’t Eldersburg residents and businesses given adequate notice of the hearing and information about the text amendment? Equally important, shouldn’t discussion of the text amendment have been held at a hearing in Eldersburg which is, after all, the place the text amendment is all about?

We’re doing our best to let people – including management of the grocery stores already in place and the ALDI that’s coming soon – know about tonight’s meeting. If you’re interested and have time to attend – whatever your opinion – please do your best to attend. Even if you don’t want to speak, just being there makes a statement that the Commission will appreciate. Bringing neighbors and friends with you would be great.

Thanks. Please leave a comment below if you like – and take our survey before you leave. And feel free to read “Reasons Not To Approve The Eldersburg LIDL Site Plan.”

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