Baltimore’s zoning board postponed its “re-deliberation” of the Harford Road Royal Farms case Tuesday to get more information from the city’s planning and transportation departments, officials said.
The Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals last heard the case in 2015. Several community associations hired a lawyer, John Murphy, and appealed the decision, and in 2017 the Maryland Court of Special Appeals remanded the case back to the city.
The board had been scheduled to hear the matter today, drawing 3rd District Councilman Ryan Dorsey and several residents.
Derek J. Baumgardner, the board’s executive director, had said there would be no public testimony today because members were well-versed on the facts having watched video of the prior 2015 hearing and having studied the “extensive file” on the case.
He told residents they could submit written testimony.
But critics of the proposed 12-pump gas station and convenience store, who had hoped to testify in person, say this is a big enough change since 2015 for the zoning board to reopen the case and hold a full hearing.
They note that several new members have joined the board in the interim.
Additionally, the area around the proposed gas station has changed in those years, they say. The station would be at the north end of the Harford Road “road diet,” which added bike lanes and slowed car traffic.
Murphy had sent the board a letter formally asking Baumgardner to reconsider.
“Well, it’s not bad news,” said Andy Ellis, co-chair of the Maryland Green Party, of today’s postponement. “I appreciate that the BMZA is taking the time to get more information, and I hope they will hear new testimony.”