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


Trial date set in Dollar General drama

(Aug. 27, 2015) A trial date has been set for Dec. 15 in the case of Oxford Chase Development Inc. versus the town of Berlin’s Board of Zoning Appeals over a prospective Dollar General Store near the intersection of Old Ocean City Boulevard and Healthway Drive.
That means the next likely development in the battle between town and company will occur more than a year after it began.
Attorney Randy Coates filed the case on June 3, but the rift between Berlin and the developer dates back to Dec. 12 of last year, when Oxford Chase originally requested a building permit.
In March, the Berlin Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that Planning Director Dave Engelhart veto the site plan because of traffic concerns. Engelhard agreed with the commission and based his veto on town code highway corridor guidelines, on March 25.
Hoping to have the matter heard by the Berlin Board of Appeals, the developer took the matter to Circuit Court for the first time, on April 23. The court ultimately sided with Oxford Chase, but the board of appeals agreed with the planning commission and Engelhart in a 3-1 decision in mid-May.
Then, having exhausted all of its administrative options, the developer was free to take the matter to circuit court for a second time.
In July, Town Attorney David Gaskill told the Gazette there are two possible outcomes in circuit court: the ruling could either be confirmed, or remanded back to the appeals commission. If the latter happens, the outcome of the second appeals commission hearing would be a formality.
“If the court tells the board of appeals that they were incorrect and have to do something, then the board will certainly do that,” Gaskill said.  
Atlantic General Hospital, which objected to the Dollar General site plan during the planning commission hearing, has filed as an interested party in the case. If the court rules in favor of Oxford Chase, Gaskill said either the town or AGH could file an appeal with the Maryland Court of Special Appeals.