CENTREVILLE — For 58 years Holly’s Restaurant and Motel has been a landmark not just for Grasonville, but for the Eastern Shore. But following the Queen Anne’s County Appeals Board meeting on Oct. 10, Royal Farms Inc. has been given approval for two variances, the first step toward transforming the property into a convenience store and gas station.
According to the meeting minutes, the board voted unanimously to grant Royal Farms permission to install underground gas tanks below the flood protection elevation as well as place 4,800 cubic yards of fill in the 100-year floodplain.
“I’ve been in construction for 40 years and had underground gas tanks,” said Chairman William Moore. “The amount of testing you have to go through is immense. I don’t have any problems. I think they have met all the criteria.”
The board based their decision using six pieces of criteria: that there is a showing of good and sufficient cause; there is determination that failure to grant a variance would result in exceptional hardship, other than economic, to the applicant; the variance will not result in increased flood heights, additional threats to public safety or extraordinary public expense; the variance will not create a nuisance; the variance will not cause fraud or victimization of the public; and the variance will not conflict with existing local and state laws or ordinances.
Members of the Grasonville community expressed their concern with the addition of a possible Royal Farms during the Greater Grasonville Civic Association’s meeting, Oct. 16.
Residents said they oppose the project fearing it will increase traffic, affect surrounding property values and become a pitstop for beach traffic.
If the final plan for the Royal Farms is approved, it will be the first gas station motorists will pass on U.S. Route 50 traveling west from Talbot County.
Grasonville residents at the meeting said they will be working toward gaining the support of Grasonville communities — like the Bay View Association and Long Point Association — to unite as a larger group and voice to work together to prevent Royal Farms from replacing Holly’s.
Royal Farms Inc. already has a contract for the property, located at 108 Jackson Creek Road, and still needs to go before the county planning commission for final approval where members of the public will have time to voice their opinions.
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