Sheila Ebelein, president of the GlenHam - BelHar Community Association, says her members recognize that the lot is zoned for a convenience store, but they are worried about the traffic the gas station will generate.
“We want to stop the gas pumps from going in.”
She cites a study from The Institute of Transportation Engineers that says the gas pumps will bring hundreds, maybe thousands more cars, through what is already a very dangerous and confusing junction.
But Robert Curran, who represents this area on the City Council, says the residents are over-reacting. “If twelve gas pumps are going to be the downfall on Harford Road – well, I think that’s a little extreme,” he told WYPR. Ebelein and others say Curran, who has held the third district seat for 17 years, is failing his constituents in this fight. They say he sided Royal Farms at a Baltimore City Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals, (BMZA) hearing after having previously committed his support to the community association. The board approved the gas pumps last month and the community group is raising money for an appeal to Circuit Court.
Recently, Ebelein and other community residents gathered to protest the development and to voice their outrage at Curran’s action. They were a few blocks away from the site in question, on the sidewalk of an existing Royal Farms.
But community members say they don’t want to use $500,000 of taxpayer’s money to accommodate a 12-pump gas station they don’t want or need; and that the planned realignment is as unsafe as the current situation.
Ebelein says the battle isn’t just about a gas station, but about a councilman siding with a corporate giant against his constituents. She says folks might hear this story and think, “That’s terrible, but then again Royal Farms has such good chicken. “I say, put yourself in our shoes – get steamrolled like this and tell me if you think you would like to experience this. We feel like we have not been listened to.”
The Baltimore Brew has been covering this issue.