Posted by: Patricia Salkin | March 20, 2020

MD Court of Special Appeals Finds Proposed Use Constituted a “Truck Stop” Under the County Zoning Ordinance

This post was authored by Matthew Loescher, Esq.

Appellant landowner submitted a site plan proposing to improve his property for a mixed-use by building a restaurant, a store for selling food items, a car wash, 16 fueling stations for cars and motorcycles, 107 parking spaces for cars and motorcycles, 6 fueling stations for trucks, and 4 parking spaces for trucks. The Commission approved the Site Plan. Following this, appellees appealed the Commission’s approval to the Board, claiming that the intended use proposed in the Site Plan constituted a “truck stop” as defined by the Zoning Ordinance, which required a Special Exception to be permitted in the HI zoning district. The Board held the proposed use was not a “Truck Stop” as defined in Article 28A of the Ordinance, and the circuit court reversed.

On appeal, Appellant argued the circuit court erred in reversing the Board’s decision because the Board correctly interpreted the definition for “truck stop.” The Washington County Zoning Ordinance provided for various zoning districts, in which certain specified uses were permitted. The Board focused its interpretation on the use of the word “primarily” and determined that the proposed use was not “a group of facilities.” The site plan, however, indicated there would be a building that served food and other items, several canopies to house the fuel pumps, truck parking, and a separate structure for a car wash. As such, the proposed use described “a group of facilities.” The court therefore held that the proposed use constituted a “truck stop” under the second clause of the Zoning Ordinance.

Spielman v Hershey, 2020 WL 1244776 (MD unrep. 3/16/2020)

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