Royal Farms to have preliminary site review in Ocean View

The Ocean View Planning & Zoning Commission will meet on July 18 to review a site plan submitted by Two Farms Inc. for a Royal Farms convenience store and gas station to be located at 54 Atlantic Avenue, on Route 26, adjacent to the new CVS store and Mariner’s Bethel United Methodist Church.

“A preliminary site plan is basically to find out that what they’re proposing to put there is permissible by code,” explained Town Administrative Official Charlie McMullen, “to see if they’ve met all the requirements as outlined in the code for zoning regulations that are applicable to this particular type of use.”

McMullen said that, during the meeting, which is set for Thursday at 7 p.m., representatives from Royal Farms will discuss their plans for the convenience store and outline how their plan has met the code, by touching on such topics as parking and trash disposal.

McMullen said the Town has already received a letter from Mariner’s Bethel church regarding the application and expects they will have a representative at the meeting to voice their concerns.

He noted that, as it is a preliminary hearing, more hearings will be held regarding the potential business.

“This is a review. It’s unlike a variance, which is a public hearing. While this is publically noticed, and we offer people the opportunity to speak, if these people are doing what they are required to do by the code, then we can’t deny them if they aren’t breaking any rules.”

The Town had previously been in court regarding the property owner’s request to combine the lots for uses under General Business zoning, which means Royal Farms is now able to have the review done under the Town’s old code.

“This parcel, because the town denied the Timmonses’ request to zone their property at 72 West Avenue as a conditional-use, they denied his request for GB. They went to court for that and the court ruled that, because the 2004 Comprehensive Land Use Plan showed that the future use was to be General Business, it should have been rezoned GB within 18-months of the adoption of that.

“Because it hadn’t,” McMullen said, “it was General Business because they failed to do it. They were given the option to have the reviews done under the new code or the old code.”

He added that, with the outcome of another lawsuit that the Town lost, gas stations are considered part of a convenience store and therefore a permissible use for the property.

“The use was established by a court ruling when the Town declined to grant a conditional use to the Marino property across from Savannah’s Landing. They went to court, and the court found that gas pumps are inherent with convenient stores in today’s age. Therefore, they were permitted to put a convenience store with gas pumps.”

McMullen added that he believes Royal Farms, like CVS, will work hard to be a positive addition to the community.

“I’m sure Royal Farms will try to be a good neighbor, just like CVS has been a good neighbor.”