3/11/17 Lidl’s request for Special Exception for the store size was approved by the County Administrative Hearing Officer in early March 2017. Lidl also received approval for reduced parking and a smaller rear delivery platform which ANPF had requested to conserve more forest.
Lidl’s next step is to get approvals for their site design plans from the County Office of Planning and Zoning and for building on/near wetlands from the Maryland Department of the Environment.
Lidl is planning a grocery store at 925 Bay Ridge Road at Georgetown Road, on the Samarras property, the site of the dilapidated C&C Liquors store. The property is within the County’s jurisdiction. The owner had begun the process to annex into the City in 2005 but has withdrawn that application in favor of this development. The property is 5.28 acres, all zoned commercial C-1.
Lidl is planning a 36,185 square foot (s.f.) local, neighborhood grocery store. 22,837 s.f. will be the sales floor and the rest is storage and admin. 174 parking spots. Lidl says the store will employ 30 to 40 employees, f/t and p/t.
Comparisons (to the best of ANPF’s knowledge): Trader Joe’s is 18,000 s.f.. Giant is 50,000 s.f. to 55,000 s.f., Graul’s is 25,000 s.f.
ANPF has been told by Lidl representatives that the product mix will be fresh fruits and veggies, as much as possible sourced locally; packaged meats; on-site bakery, German chocolates and other packaged household goods. There will be outdoor seating, and a bike storage rack, but no indoor seating. There will be a walking/bike path connecting to the Bay Village Shopping Area. Hours of operation will be similar to Giant, including closing at approx. 10 pm.
Lidl agreed to these requests of ANPF to:
- Reduce impervious surface by reducing the number of parking spots (they reduced from 182 to 174);
- Preserve more of the forest on the south side of the property where the Greenway is located by not developing a rear drive aisle for delivery;
- Preserve more of the forest on the west side of the property by reconfiguring the parking area;
- Provide outdoor seating, a bike rack and a walkway/bike-path connecting to Bay Village Road.
ANPF has these concerns with the Lidl proposal:
- Lack of connection with the the Bay Village shopping area.
- Requirement for a Special Exception because of the size of the grocery building.
ANPF’s positions on the Special Exception requests are:
- ANPF supports the use of this property as a grocery because that is consistent with both the County and City comprehensive plans.
- ANPF supports the Special Exception to remove the rear drive aisle requirement in order to conserve a greater area of forest or afforestation; to reduce impermeable surface for improved stormwater management; and, to preserve the Greenway.
- ANPF is neutral regarding the Special Exception for a greater building size of 36,185 square feet than allowed in a C1 zoning district (25,000 square feet) and defers to and supports the judgement of the Anne Arundel County Office of Planning and Zoning in that regard.
- ANPF strongly supports integration of the site design with the adjacent Bay Village development on the eastern side of the property. Specifically, Lidl is encouraged to design the site so that the front of the grocery faces the Bay Village development and Lidl’s parking lot is integrated with Bay Village parking and connected to Bay Village Drive.
Connection with Bay Village
This property is between the Bay Village shopping area and Fawcetts. The Lidl grocery will be built on the eastern perimeter of the property, with its’ ‘back’ towards the Bay Village shopping area. The grocery front will face west (effectively, facing Fawcetts) and the parking lot will be on the western side. As residents drive towards Bay Ridge, the front of the grocery will be clearly visible. But, from within the adjacent Bay Village shopping area, the only connection is a foot path because the building creates a dead-end at Bay Village Drive.
ANPF supports the City of Annapolis’ concept for the Bay Village shopping area and is concerned that the placement of the building with its’ ‘back’ to Bay Village would be unattractive and diminish consumer enjoyment. ANPF would prefer the grocery building face Bay Village and its’ parking lot access Bay Village Drive.
The Bay Village shopping area is four lots in the front and one large lot in the rear. Presently only two front lots are developed: the CVS and Quantum Sails. The two remaining front lots may be, respectively, a free-standing restaurant or coffee shop and a 2-story building with retail or restaurant below and offices above. The rear lot of the Bay Village shopping area will have a 2-story assisted living residence built in 2018.
The City of Annapolis envisions the Bay Village area to be inviting to pedestrian visitors and shoppers. Bay Village’s internal road, Bay Village Drive, connects all these properties. The buildings in the front along Bay Ridge Road will have their front doors on Bay Village Drive and an attractive facade on Bay Ridge Rd. Orienting buildings on Bay Village Drive, inside the shopping area, is intended to create more of a sense of place and community gathering.
Special Exception for building size
The proposed building size of the Lidl store exceeds the county’s zoning code which is 25,000 s.f. for a local, neighborhood grocery store. County Code Section 18-5-102.
Lidl also seeks a Special Exception for not developing the rear drive aisle (bulk delivery area) requirement. County Code Section 18-5-201.
The County Administrative Hearing Officer may allow Special Exceptions when the Officer determines that: (1) the property has certain unique physical conditions that prevent reasonable development; or (2) because of exceptional circumstances, other than financial consideration, development has practical difficulties or unnecessary hardship. County Code Section 18-16-305.
A Greenway environmental protection area exists in the rear of the Bay Village and Lidl/C&C-Liquor properties. The property owners have committed to protecting the Greenway with a minimum 100 foot buffer of animal habitat and forest in the rear of all these properties.
Click here for Lidl’s application for a variance.
Click here for Anne Arundel County Planning & Zoning’s recommendation for conditional approval of the variance, conditioned upon obtaining a revised MD Dept. of the Environment permit for impacting nontidal wetlands and on County approval of a revised site plan for changes according to the wetland permit’s requirement. The County commented that “A reduction in parking could be considered to preserve additional environmental features if the applicant provides connectivity and joint parking arrangement within the adjacent “Bay Village” site.”
Click here for the traffic impact study.
The public hearing on the request for the Special Exceptions, notable for a larger store than allowed in the C1 zoning district for a grocery’s size was held on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017 at 11:00 am before the County Administrative Hearing Officer, Arundel Center, 44 Calvert Street, downtown Annapolis. Public testimony was received by many local residents. The hearing officer allowed the Special Exceptions. On March 15, a resident appealed the Hearing Officer’s decision to the County Board of Appeals but withdrew their appeal before the hearing.