By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(July 2,2020) The way has been cleared for the development of a shopping center on a 26-acre wedge of property between Route 50 and Route 818, following the approval of a zoning change at the Berlin mayor and Town Council on June. 22.
The council’s decision to allow a change in zoning classification from light industrial to business comes six months after the Planning Commission endorsed Atlantic Group’s request in January. But with a succession of meeting cancellations during the height of the novel coronavirus locally, the matter finally landed before the council.
The council agreed with the petitioner that a mistake in zoning had occurred, and that the suitable designation for the parcel is shopping district.
Christopher Carbaugh of Atlantic Group Associates said the plan is to create a shopping center for restaurants, pharmacies, retail or gift shops.
“We’re going to be looking to provide services we think are needed or desired for the community around Berlin,” Carbaugh said.
During the public hearing for the rezoning, Carbaugh said water and wastewater services have been extended to the site.
The next step will be to have the proposed uses approved by the Planning Commission and obtain all permits. Then, Atlantic Group can secure tenants.
“We’re not looking to propose the classical strip mall. Again, we’re trying to create a different experience, what I would call a neighborhood shopping center,” Carbaugh said.
The Atlantic Group entered into a contract for the property about six months ago, added Carbaugh.
Unlike Downtown Berlin which is zoned as B-1 Town Center District, the shopping center will be B-2.
“B-2 allows a few more uses, but … the uses say anything you can do in B-1, you can do in B-2 and expands on that,” said Planning Director David Engelhart.
District 2 Councilmember Zackery Tyndall asked Engelhart to update the council about a traffic study that is part of the access plan with the Maryland State Highway Association.
The council closed the hearing and approved the resolution to change the zoning classification in a unanimous vote.
For more information, visit berlinmd.gov.