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Howard County considers gas station restrictions
By: Associated Press January 2, 2014
COLUMBIA — Howard County planning officials are considering whether to place limits on new gas stations built in the county.
WBAL Radio reports the planning board is holding a hearing Thursday night on a proposal that would prevent business with more than four gas pumps from being built within 1,000 feet of an existing station. It would also restrict new gas stations from being built near schools, parks or environmentally sensitive areas.
The Howard County Independent Business Association, which includes some gas stations, has been seeking the change. But the county’s planning director, Marsha McLaughlin, is recommending that the planning board reject the proposed restrictions. She said there is “no compelling reason” to change the current restrictions.
Another business coalition, led by Royal Farms, is opposing the change. A spokesman said the convenience store chain is considering adding new stores in Howard County but has no definite building plans.
Opponents released an economic study by the Regional Economic Studies Institute at Towson University showing that gasoline prices in Howard County are among the highest in Maryland because of the county’s current restrictions on gas stations. The study found the average price of gas in Howard County in 2012 was $3.65 per gallon, and only Montgomery County had a higher average at $3.70 per gallon.
Dr. Darius Irani, the institute’s executive director, said Howard County’s current zoning restrictions limit where gas stations can be placed, helping to drive up prices.
Former Howard and Anne Arundel County Planning Director Joe Rutter also is opposing the measure, saying it would discourage development of new supermarkets, convenience stores or car washes that also sell gasoline.
“It flies in the face of wanting redevelopment that would be more mixed use, and attractive than the older facilities,” Rutter said.

Read more: http://thedailyrecord.com/2014/01/02/howard-county-considers-gas-station-restrictions/#ixzz2xeIiD7iV

Howard County considers gas station restrictions
Planning board to hold hearing Thursday WBAL
Published 12:20 PM EST Jan 02, 2014

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COLUMBIA, Md. —Planning officials in Howard County are considering whether there should be limits on new gas stations in the county.
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The planning board will hold a hearing Thursday on proposed restrictions that would prevent businesses with more than four gas pumps from being built within 1,000 feet of an existing station, a school, a park or an environmentally sensitive area.
The Howard County Independent Business Association is seeking the change. The association's membership includes gas station owners.
Another business coalition, led by Royal Farms, is opposing the measure.
A spokesman for the coalition told WBAL-AM that the convenience store chain has no definite plans to build new stores in Howard County but is considering adding stores there.
Former Howard County and Anne Arundel County Planning Director Joe Rutter will testify for the opponents.
Rutter told WBAL that the proposed restrictions will discourage the development of new supermarkets, convenience stores or car washes that also sell gasoline.
"It flies in the face of wanting redevelopment that would be more mixed use, and more attractive than the older facilities," Rutter told WBAL.
Opponents have also released an economic study that shows that gasoline prices in Howard County are the highest in the Baltimore area and among the highest in the state because of the county's current restrictions on gas stations.
The study by…