Planning Commission Holds Off Approval For Shopping Center

By Guy Leonard, County Times

HOLLYWOOD, Md. (Sept. 11, 2008)—Developers want to build a new shopping center on the west side of Route 235 at the intersection with St. Andrews Church Road but the county planning commission says they need more information on how the project will deal with what they saw as traffic management problems.

The proposed shopping center, known as St. Mary’s Marketplace, owned by a group comprised of Hart & Lytle Enterprises, Gerald W. Clark LLC and Burke and Wilson to be developed by DRS Development, would include 121,242 square feet of retail shopping space and would replace much of the smaller shopping center already there.

The site would encompass 14 acres of land.

John Norris, Jr. of Ng&O Engineering, said that the left turn from Route 235 north onto St. Andrews Church Road would have extra lanes, two moving straight ahead.

But commission member Shelby Guazzo was concerned that one of those lanes would turn into a right hand turn lane onto an extended FDR Boulevard.

Gauzzo said that the left turn was already a difficult traffic problem and that one new lane becoming a right turn lane suddenly would not help manage increased traffic.

“You’ve lost a lane,” Guazzo said of the proposed plan. “I feel this should be a full service intersection.”

Norris said that the intersection leading into the new shopping center would be “signalized from all sides to control traffic.”

Susan McNeill, commission member, also expressed concern that visitors to the new center would use FDR Boulevard, which is planned to connect much of the shopping sites in California, to get back out onto the main road, causing more congestion.

“I know it’s a controlled intersection,” Mc-Neill said “But it seems like it’s going to be a real mess.”

The plan to build at the intersection also includes relocating several mobile homes located just behind the current shopping center.

John Norris, III of Norris and Dudderar law offices, said that occupants had been notified of plans to take over the park in July and that assistance would be available for those looking to relocate.

John Norris, Jr. said that with timely approval the shopping center could be built out by autumn of 2010.

“But it would be a very aggressive schedule,” he said.

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