OCEAN CITY – A new Goose Creek convenience store and Subway restaurant moved closer this week to taking over a property located on 52nd Street and Coastal Highway.
In March, the Planning and Zoning Commission reviewed a proposed site plan and conducted a public hearing regarding conditional uses for a new convenience store and expansion of existing fuel service facilities located on 52nd Street. The site is currently known as Andersons Exxon Service Station and Towing. The property is located between Seacrets and Macky’s Bayside Bar and Grill. Warrens Park, a residential community, and Candy Kitchen are its immediate neighbors, as well as a parcel to the rear with three mobile homes.
The applicant, Cato INC, is proposing to transform Andersons into a Goose Creek convenience store with a Subway restaurant attached. The existing building will be demolished and the new structure will be built directly behind it on the back side of the property. There are currently four fuel pumps that service eight vehicles and the proposal is to add two more pumps.
Many neighbors to the property from the residential community were present for the public hearing and were mainly concerned over the vehicular traffic the establishment will add to the already busy 52nd Street as well as the pedestrian traffic that may occur late at night.
The commission made no final decision at that time suggesting a few changes to the site plan, such as including sidewalks on 52nd Street, moving the trash receptacle to the south side of the building and a second exit/entrance on Coastal Hwy.
The commission also wanted to wait for feedback from the Maryland State Highway Administration on the best configuration of curb cuts or exits and entrances on the property to better reduce traffic.
This week the applicant returned to the commission for a deliberation and preliminary review of a revised site plan that was aimed to relieve all concerns.
The revised drawings reflect the building being pushed back to the most western line of the property, as well as all gas pumps have been moved to allow more efficient vehicular circulation on the property. Since the pumps are being moved, all new pumps will be needed, instead of the original plan to use the existing.
The drawings show a northern curb cut on the eastern property line onto Coastal Highway to allow an entrance and exit at that location for patrons, delivery, and fuel trucks to utilize instead of 52nd Street. There is also an entrance and exit on 52nd Street.
“They have a lot of internal circulation the original gas station did not have because everything was piled up within the property,” Zoning Administrator Blaine Smith said.
The trash receptacles have been shifted from the western side of the building to the southern side with enclosures. This will also enable better vehicular circulation on the property.
For safety measures, the project’s architect, Keith Iott, added a sidewalk to the property.
“They have incorporated sidewalks along the north side of 52nd Street right away on their private property for the benefit of public usage,” Smith said.
Commission member Peck Miller said that the revised site plan is a vast improvement from the original, and he is encouraged there will be no outside dining to avoid loitering late at night.
“I applaud you for bringing this back,” he said. “It is a lot better for the neighborhoods and everything.”
Commission member Lauren Taylor agreed.
“Everything I had issues with is gone,” she said.
Commission member Chris Shanahan was pleased with the fact that the issues brought up by the neighbors had been addressed, especially the traffic issue.
“You have done a really great job addressing the issues of the neighborhood and it shows that they want to get along,” he said. “If they have late night issues they can always hire security.”
Taylor moved that the commission recommend a favorable conditional use of the property and the preliminary site plan be moved to staff review to become final if no changes are made.
Commission Chair Pam Buckley suggested adding a couple items to fall under conditions of approval during staff review — installing signage on 52nd Street that it is not a through street as well as modifying the traffic signals timing to accommodate the new vehicular and pedestrian traffic.
The commission agreed to add the conditions to the motion and voted unanimously to approve.