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