Close Menu
Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Berlin inks deal with Dollar General

After nearly a year of back and forth between developer Oxford Chase and the Berlin Planning Commission – and at least one trip to Worcester County Circuit Court – the Town of Berlin has come to an agreement that should bring a new Dollar General store at the intersection of routes 113 and 376.
It also could set in motion two other projects that would have their own impact impact on the community.
Oxford Chase originally sought a permit in December 2014 to build a Dollar General at the intersection of Old Ocean City Boulevard and Healthway Drive. In March, however, the Berlin Planning Commission unanimously recommended a veto of the site plan because of what it saw as traffic problems.
Planning Director Dave Engelhart agreed with the recommendation and signed the veto, and the developer went to court to force a hearing before the Berlin Board of Appeals.
The appeals board, however, sided with the planning commission and in June Oxford Chase again filed a suit. A second trial date was set in the circuit court for Dec. 15.
Now, it appears the developer and the town have come to an agreement with an entirely new site for the store.
During a public meeting on Monday, the Town Council voted 3-0 to authorize Berlin Mayor Gee Williams to sign a contract, selling a 1.67-acre parcel of land at the corner of Route 113 and Assateague Road (376) for approximately $296,000.
The final purchase will depend on a site plan that determines the actual square footage of the property. According to the contract, the town and Oxford Chase agreed to a rate of $4.0742 per square foot.
As part of the agreement, Oxford Chase agreed to drop its case in circuit court.
The land is part of a 5.29-acre parcel of land owned by the town that also would include a police station and a new community center in the future, Berlin Mayor Gee Williams said during the Monday town meeting.
Also stipulated in the contract is that Oxford Chase and the town would split the cost of a traffic study concerning all three developments.
Williams said the town had been in discussions with the developer during closed meetings for some time and he characterized the discussions as “upfront and businesslike.”
The new police station, Williams said, would likely start construction “about this time next year.” He added that Berlin police had been dealing with an inadequate facility for a number of years and predicted the new station would serve the town “at least through the mid-century.”
Of the new community center, Williams did not offer a timeline, but said, “we’re not talking decades anymore.”
Berlin originally bought the parcel of land in 2010 using casino revenue, according to Williams.
“This is one part of a process that helps this town accomplish a number of goals that some folks have been wanting literally for decades,” Williams said on Monday. “I think this helps accelerate the development of that neighborhood for the benefit of the entire community.”
Councilmember Thom Gulyas made the motion, which passed unanimously. Two councilmembers, Lisa Hall and Troy Purnell, were absent during the meeting.
“This is the first in a series of things that I think that everyone involved will be able to look back on with a great deal of pride for a long, long time,” Williams said.
Reached for comment on Tuesday, Oxford Chase Vice President John Camp was upbeat, although he admitted a resolution was “close, but not 100 percent.”
“We feel good about it and I want to publically compliment the mayor for his good work,” he said.