During my door-knocking, I've had a number of people inquire about the proposed re-development of the former C&C liquors site at the end of Georgetown Road. I have learned quite a bit about it through my work with the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation. Here's what I know:
Originally the site was to be annexed into the City. Instead, they are keeping the property in the County and are developing this site using the County's zoning code.
The current proposal is for a Lidl grocery store to be built on the site. These stores are similar to Aldi or Trader Joes, from what I've been told.
The applicant (Lidl) has successfully received a variance from the County to build a larger store than the County zoning allows. Zoning only allows an approximately 25,000 square foot store, and the applicant received a variance to build a 36,185 square foot store (22,837 sf sales floor with the rest as storage and admin space), . According to the Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation (ANPF), as comparison, Trader Joe’s is 18,000 s.f., Giant is 50,000 s.f. to 55,000 s.f., and Graul’s is 25,000 s.f.
There will be 174 parking spots, and Lidl says that they will employ 30-40 employees.
While I'm in favor of redeveloping this property, I still have a number of concerns:
- How will this larger store impact traffic?
- Will they protect the Annapolis Neck Greenway, which encompasses the forest in the rear of the property?
- Will they seek synergy with the adjacent City property and allow the City and community to realize our vision for that part of our community? The City's vision is to create a "Bay Village" that would include the CVS, a restaurant, another business (rumored to be a Starbucks - I'm concerned with this proposal given our local coffee shop Zu across the street), and the Bay Village senior center (already permitted and approved). They want to extend Bay Village Drive to connect Edgewood Road and Georgetown Road. The reason you see the rear-end of CVS as you drive down Bay Ridge, is because it is facing this interior road, this Bay Village Drive, which would be conducive towards a more pedestrian-friendly experience. The problem is, the Lidl proposal I saw would completely block and prevent these two roads from connecting. This is not only a problem for the community, but for these businesses that have turned their stores around because they were expecting the Bay Village Drive to be completed. I've been pushing Lidl to flip their building and put it on the other side of the lot to allow the Bay Village concept to be realized.
- I would like to see Lidl work with the UFCW union, just as they work with unions in Germany, to see if the employees would like to be represented by them. Furthermore, I would like to see these jobs offered to Ward 7 residents first, and then to the rest of the City.
I gave voice to these concerns when I met with the developer during ANPF's meetings with their team, as well as when I worked with Councilman Trumbauer's office and ANPF to setup a meeting between the City and County zoning officials. The City shared their desire to see their "Bay Village concept" realized, but unfortunately the County felt unable to offer much assistance in that regard. While I do have these concerns, I also want the property redeveloped. And this current proposal, despite it's flaws, is much better than some of the previous development proposals we have seen, which would have taken up the entire site (and forest) with offices and parking spaces. That's why I'm leaning towards supporting Lidl's proposal, as long as they can adequately address my concerns listed above.
How do you feel about this proposed redevelopment?