The Md. 85 corridor south of Frederick will be getting its third Sheetz.
The Frederick County Planning Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to approve preliminary plans to subdivide a 4.65-acre lot in the Omega Center development at Md. 85 and Executive Way into three lots, one of which will contain the 6,077-square-foot gas station and convenience store.
But the commission rejected a request by the store’s applicants to allow light poles that are taller than county zoning law allows in the area where the store will be built.
Sheetz had asked the commission to grant a modification to rules that limit light pole height to 18 feet on commercial properties, to allow lights up to 24 feet tall on the property.
In a letter to county planning staff, Sheetz said that the company’s standard lights across the Mid-Atlantic region are 20-foot poles on a 3-foot base.
The plot of land where the new store will be built is zoned light industrial, while the property’s use will be commercial, setting up a seeming conflict in zoning rules.
The maximum pole height on commercial properties is 18 feet, while industrial properties allow 24-foot poles.
In its letter, Sheetz argued that since the property and others around it have the light industrial zoning designation, the taller poles should be allowed. Other types of industrial areas nearby have lights up to 30 feet high, the letter said.
Commissioners were skeptical, arguing that the county’s zoning ties rules to a property’s use rather than its zoning.
Commissioner Bob White said he wasn’t convinced by the company’s argument that they should be allowed to use taller poles because that’s their standard.
The Planning Commission should be consistent; otherwise, why bother having a standard, he said.
The three lots approved by the commission Wednesday are bordered by Md. 85, Executive Way and Governors Way, across Md. 85 from the Westview South development.
One of the parcels adjacent to the newly divided lots will have a hotel, although the brand remains to be seen.
The project was originally scheduled to be a 114-room Hilton Tru hotel, although that plan has fallen through, it was announced Wednesday.