Rezoning request denied for proposed Cavetown Sheetz

August 04, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

CAVETOWN -- A developer's plan to build a Sheetz gas station and convenience store at the corner of Md. 64 and Md. 66 near Smithsburg hit a major setback Tuesday when the Washington County Commissioners decided to reject the developer's rezoning request.

The commissioners voted 3-1 to deny Bowman Cavetown LLC's request to rezone a 3/4-acre parcel at 11840 Mapleville Road from residential to commercial use.

Bowman had planned to combine that lot with an adjacent lot already zoned commercial to have enough space for the Sheetz, according to Matthew C. Donegan, manager of new business development for Bowman Development.

Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire said he didn't think the applicant made a plausible argument that the neighborhood had changed enough to make residential zoning inappropriate or that the residential zoning designation was originally made in error. One of those two arguments must be demonstrated to justify an individual rezoning request, according to a report from Senior Planner Jill Baker.


Commissioner William J. Wivell also said he was not satisfied with the developer's evidence to justify the change.

Wivell noted that of the three nearby properties Bowman listed as having been rezoned to commercial use over the years, only one of those changes, the one for the Food Lion shopping center, actually resulted in a change in the property's use.

Aleshire, Wivell and Commissioner Terry Baker voted to deny the request, while Commissioners President John F. Barr voted against denying it. Commissioner James F. Kercheval was absent because he was attending an economic development event.

Donegan said after the meeting that he was disappointed by the decision.

"We still, to this day, feel that we have made a very strong case, and the planning commission agreed with us," Donegan said. "However, we also understand and will abide by the decision made by the county commissioners."

The property already zoned for commercial use is less than one acre and is too small for the company to develop alone, Donegan said.

He said the company would research its options for proceeding with the project or other alternatives.

"We have to figure out what is our next step," he said.

How they voted

The Washington County Commissioners voted 3-1 to deny a request to rezone a 3/4-acre parcel near Cavetown from residential to commercial.

A "yes" vote was a vote to deny the request.

John F. Barr: no

Terry Baker: yes

Kristin B. Aleshire: yes

William J. Wivell: yes

Commissioner James F. Kercheval was absent.

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