Community Issues - Special Laws

Bill 53-18, Planned Drive-In Clusters

Sponsor: Almond
Benefitted: new Royal Farms at 1721 Reisterstown Rd

This Bill allows the owner to avoid the Special Exception process for a gas station (which can be appealed) if the parcel has:

  • at least 2.5 acres
  • at least 250 ft of frontage on an arterial Street
  • has vehicular access to an arterial street within 300 ft of the right-of-way of an Interstate Highway (not even necessarily an entrance to the Interstate)

This Bill is clearly to grease the skids for a new Royal Farms to be built in place of the Ramada Inn in Pikesville where the lot has:

  • 2.84 acres
  • 263 ft of frontage on Reisterstown Rd, a Minor Arterial roadway
  • access, via a planned driveway to that arterial road, which is 115 ft from a parcel that is probably owned by SHA for the Beltway and the entrance ramps (but see below)

The result, discovered only after lots of digging though the BCZR, is that this change allows a gas station in BL by right in this specific, narrowly defined sitution, rather than by Special Exception. Royal Farms then got this approved without any Zoning hearings. The required review by the Design Review Panel was done on Dec 12, 2018 without any public notification (the agenda wasn't posted online until Mar 13, 2019 after I asked about it).

The Bill also provides an allowance for a full service car wash (at a gas station) by right if in an integral planned development in a planned drive-in cluster. Otherwise, car washes are allowed only by Special Exception.

The distance to the "Right-of-Way of the Interstate Highway" is questionable, something that should have been examined during a hearing on the "Conditional Use". While it is 115 ft from some public land that makes up the overall parcel(s) that are the interchange of the Beltway, the plats for the construction of the Beltway show this part being the "right-of-way" for Reisterstown Rd, not of the "Beltway". This gas station entrance would be 800 ft from the center of the "Interstate highway", with the plats showing the Beltway "right-of-way" to be about 150 ft on each side, thus, nowhere near the required 300 ft.

Here again, the effective date was 2 weeks after its passage, not the required 45 days. No doubt it would have been sooner except that they had to give the Executive 10 days to sign (or veto) it. It is unknown what the rush was, as no development process hearing was scheduled.

Update - On Feb 15, 2022, the Board of Appeals remanded this case to the ALJ, where it should have started. Once back there, testimony should include whether or not the conditions in the Bill are actually met.

Introduced June 4, 2018: passed July 2; effective July 16

Return to Special Laws Page

Updated 16 Feb 2022