Elk­ton an­nexes land for pro­posed shop­ping cen­ter

Cecil Whig - - LOCAL - By BRI­ANNA SHEA

bshea@ ce­cil­whig. com

— The town board voted unan­i­mously Wed­nes­day night to an­nex a par­cel of land on Route 40 that a com­mer­cial real es­tate firm hopes to turn into a shop­ping cen­ter.

Acorn In­vest­ment Com­pany II, LLC, cur­rent owner of the 10,600- square­foot par­cel of land at 722 E. Pu­laski High­way, is look­ing to sell the property to the Se­gall Group, a com­mer­cial real es­tate firm that fo­cuses on de­vel­op­ing shop­ping cen­ters. The com­pany is cur­rently leas­ing the land to Tim’s Used Tires. The sale is con­tin­gent on an­nex­a­tion and plan ap­proval.

The idea is to turn the land into a shop­ping cen­ter, which could in­clude a fast- ca­sual restau­rant, a cof­fee shop and busi­ness with a fo­cus on med­i­cal use.

Jeanne Min­ner, town di­rec­tor of plan­ning and zon­ing, noted the town’s plan­ning com­mis­sion held a pub­lic hear­ing on Aug. 8 and voted to rec­om­mend ap­proval of the an­nex­a­tion and of the property owner’s re­quest of a zon­ing clas­si­fi­ca­tion.

Be­fore the vote was taken on Wed­nes­day, the board held a pu­bic hear­ing to re­ceive any ques­tions and com­ments from com­mu­nity mem­bers.

Com­mis­sioner

ELK­TON

Jean Broomell asked Elk­ton lawyer Dwight Thomey and Arian “Arik” Jakob, of Se­gall, if ap­proved, when the con­struc­tion would be­gin.

“We would like to start in Fe­bru­ary since we need to de­liver by Aug. 1,” Jakob said.

Ann Con­nor, whose property is be­hind the par­cel of land, is con­cerned that if the deal does not go through, a methadone clinic could open there. A prior pro­posal for the for­mer Rose’s Diner property drew con­sid­er­able pub­lic out­cry in 2011 and the then- Board of County Com­mis­sion­ers passed a zon­ing amend­ment that blocked the project. The case ended in a law­suit set­tled by the county’s in­surer this year.

How­ever, there is no Elk­ton or­di­nance pro­hibit­ing a methadone clinic from lo­cat­ing in such a zone, she said. But Con­nor said she hopes that the de­vel­op­ment plan does move for­ward and be­comes a re­al­ity.

“I think my client made it very clear that they don’t have any deal­ings with methadone clin­ics. That would ac­tu­ally be in­con­sis­tent with the ar­range­ments with the other ten­ants and the cen­ter that they want to con­struct,” Thomey said. “They’ve been very firm about the fact that it would be it would be a real detri­ment to them to even con­sider hav­ing that kind of use on the site be­cause it would make it very dif­fi­cult, if not im­pos­si­ble to rent out the rest of the com­mer­cial space in the cen­ter.”

Con­nor also brought up the is­sue of tires be­ing too close to the road as well as stand­ing water in the tires and cars parked near the road.

“I won­der about the water in these tires. West Nile, Zika, what’s leech­ing into the ground and into my well?” Con­nor said. “There’s a lot of con­cerns here.”

Thomey said there have been nu­mer­ous con­ver­sa­tions with the owner that once the property is an­nexed in, the property must be in com­pli­ance with the town. He said the property owner has given no­tice to the busi­ness owner about com­ply­ing with town reg­u­la­tions.

Mayor Rob Alt said the property owner has un­til Oct. 22, the date the an­nex­a­tion goes into ef­fect, to clean up the tires.

CE­CIL WHIG FILE PHOTO

Elk­ton has an­nexed this par­cel of land on Route 40, which a real es­tate firm hopes to turn into a shop­ping cen­ter.

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