Demolition of two existing structures has begun on the future site of a Dunkin' Donuts in Finksburg.
The developer, Hamera Investors LLC, received final approval of their site plans by the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission July 15, said Ram Javia, spokesman for Hamera. The Dunkin' Donuts will be located off of Md. 140 west of Dede Road. The commission has many checks and balances, Javia said, and Hamera wanted to make sure the future property was immaculately designed.
"I want to recognize the planning and zoning commission, they did a wonderful job," Javia said. "We wanted our building to represent the county well."
Patrick Varga, development review coordinator for the Department of Land Use, Planning and Development, said the project was first presented to the commission in May 2011. Hamera's initial plans included direct access to Md. 140 from both the east and west and the demolition of two of the three buildings on the site, one of which was an uninhabited house in terrible shape, Varga said. The original plan for access to Md. 140 was really an impossible idea due to the proposed site's proximity to the intersection at Md. 91 and Md. 140, said Mike Davis, communications director for the Finksburg Planning and Citizens' Council.
"The Md. 91 and Md. 140 intersection has been rated a failing intersection by the State Highway Administration for years now, all the more reason to deny the store access," Davis said.
The Md. 140 access denial forced Hamera to look for alternative means for customers to reach the property, Varga said. Their solution was to construct an access point from Old Westminster Pike, which runs parallel to Md. 140 on the south side of the site before connecting to the highway west of the property.
After redesigning the plans to include access to Old Westminster Pike, Hamera also decided the building originally selected as the site of the Dunkin' Donuts was too close to the access point from Md. 140, so they are now tearing that building down and utilizing the building originally proposed for demolition as the new site, Varga said.
A smaller issue, one brought up by Hamera, was too much parking, Varga also said. The commission required the site to have 27 spaces, but in January 2013 the developer requested a reduction to 20 spaces, which was granted.
"You'd be surprised in the number of [businesses] that want fewer spaces," he said "So much of their customer base is drive thru traffic."
Varga said he recommended to the commission on July 15 that they approve the final plans submitted by Hamera because they had met all requirements laid out by the department. The original plans had a few other minor issues, such as improved lighting on the road leading to Old Westminster Pike, a guard rail was called for and the existing signage needed to be removed. There are still a few more steps, Varga said, including stormwater management easement, which allows for quick access to the system for repairs, landscaping, road widening along Old Westminster Pike and the shoulder needed to be widened for future ditch repairs.
"[Hamera] could handle all this by August," he said "This is a very aggressive estimate but it is possible."
Javia said demolition of the dilapidated house and unused building began on July 16 and should take about two weeks to complete, and the Dunkin' Donuts should be finished sometime in the first quarter of 2015.
"We will be going full speed now," Javia said. "Now, we can get started."
Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.