(Jan. 22, 2021) The Worcester County Technical Review Committee met virtually on Jan. 13 to discuss a site plan  of a 5,154-square-foot Royal Farms convenience store near Ocean Pines with a 1,248-square-foot car wash and eight gasoline pumping stations under canopy.

Royal Farms

The Worcester County Technical Review Committee discussed plans for the development of a Royal Farms convenience store on Cathell Road near Ocean Pines with a car wash and eight gasoline pumping stations under canopy on Jan. 13. The Technical Review Committee recommended that numerous items be addressed on the site plan before an approval could be granted.

The proposed Royal Farms will be located at 11073 Cathell Road next to the Walgreens just off Route 589.

The property is zoned for the C-2 General Commercial District and is owned by Delmarva Real Estate Holdings LLC. Becker Morgan Group, Inc. is the engineer for the project. 

“The car wash has more than adequate stacking for lining up without any interference with any of the on-site traffic circulation,” said Jeff Harman of the Becker Morgan Group.

The State Highway Administration has completed an access feasibility study and a traffic impact study and reached approval for both studies.

“We’ve done much negotiation with them on the access from 589, and they have agreed to the entrance shown, and we are in the process of having the necessary break in right of way controls for us to be allowed to have that access,” Harman said. “We’re part way through that process. We have part of our approvals, but we’re waiting for Board of Public Works with the state to finalize their approval.”

Then, construction drawings will be submitted for approval.

“We have two further entrances off of Cathell Road. Both of them come into the site off full access entrances,” Harman said. “We have a shared entrance for the northwest part of the site there that goes to the Hileman Real Estate. That is an existing entrance, and that entrance is currently shared. It currently straddles the property line. We are moving it completely onto Royal Farms property, but we will be providing the cross-access easement to Hileman Real Estate.”

A cross-connection to the Royal Farms will also be provided to the neighboring Walgreens.

In addition, the site plan shows 49 parking spaces were provided with two handicapped spaces.

The minimum number of parking spaces required is 25.77 spaces and the maximum is 51.4 spaces.

The project also has the necessary stormwater management subject to the Worcester County Stormwater Ordinance.

“We do have concept stormwater management plan approval from Bobby Shockley (who reviews stormwater management plans for the county),” Harman said. “We’re working on final approvals of that as well.”

Harman said he also spoke with Frank Adkins with the Roads Division of Public Works, who requested some additions to the plan.

“We’ve got some striping and some storm drainage changes that we’re going to be making on there,” he said.

Kristen Tremblay, zoning administrator for the county, asked if the Viper lamps will continuously be energized, or turned on constantly. Harman replied that he will have to contact the electrical engineer for the answer.

“If they’re continuously energized, we do have a height restriction. It cannot exceed 18 feet,” Tremblay. “If that’s what you’re going to indicate that they are, just have that adjusted on the site plans, OK?”

The Viper lamps will be off during the daytime.

Daniel Wilson, D-1 access management regional engineer from the State Highway Administration, added that the project is also currently in the process of plat review.

Furthermore, Harman said the loading space was purposefully not included in the site plan.

“The way Royal Farms loads into their store is through their front door. They don’t have a rear delivery door,” he said. “So, there isn’t a need for a loading space because they have off hours delivery times.”

Tremblay said because the project site plan is a minor site plan, it is not necessary to go through the county Planning Commission for approval regarding the omission of a loading zone.

“Additionally, on the loading zone, as long as you’re showing it on the site plan whether it’s used or not that’s all I need in order to meet the requirements,” she said.

She added that a loading zone could be included on the eastern side of the project.

According to zoning laws, planting areas must be placed at each end of a parking row around the main building and the edges of the parking area needs to be curbed or buffered. Curbed islands are required adjacent to parking. Harman said there is a safety concern about islands in those locations because of tripping hazards.

“To have a landscaped island with curbing around it creates a liability for [Royal Farms] that they try to eliminate because it is a safety concern for them. Most of their stores do not have that,” he said. “Is there any way that you can eliminate those and do additional landscaping elsewhere on-site?”

Tremblay responded that there does not have to be a curb in this case. The island just has to be curbed or buffered.

“If you want to do something that’s flush and has the space for the vegetation, that’s more than welcome too,” she added.

The Technical Review Committee recommended that numerous items be addressed on the site plan before an approval could be granted.

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