Cumberland Times-News

Local News

November 10, 2012

State will sell land that was declared surplus property near Route 144

Nearby fuel station/convenience store project continues slow forward progress

CUMBERLAND — A swath of property near Interstate 68 and along state Route 144 will be sold by the state after being declared surplus property at a recent Maryland Board of Public Works meeting.

The property, consisting of nearly 64 acres, is on the north side of Route 144, near the relocated DeHaven Road, N.E., according to Maryland Department of Planning Documents. It’s unclear what the plans for the property are, and currently, there is no access to the interstate from the property. The market value of the property is listed at $43,950, according to state documents.

At the same time, planned development of the Turano property a bit to the south slowly moves forward.

The plan for the privately owned Turano property includes a 10,000-square-foot travel station off Interstate 68 near Ali Ghan Shrine Club. Earlier this year, the Cumberland Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission gave a green light to Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, which wants to build a fuel station and convenience store in the area. The Turano property is directly across from the bridge over Interstate 68 that goes to U.S. Route 220 at Route 144, just past the Ali Ghan Shrine Club.

“We have not been provided anything official, but it does appear to be moving along,” said City Engineer John DiFonzo. “The last thing I saw was a letter and comments from SHA (State Highway Administration). It was not an approval letter, but it didn't look like it contained anything that would make approval unlikely,” DiFonzo said. Only preliminary plans were available, so DiFonzo was not sure about when the developer would continue moving on the project.

 Site plans for the Love’s project include two restaurants — McDonald’s and Subway — as well as fueling stations for cars and trucks. Drawings show parking spaces for 78 cars and 96 trucks. The city has been courting developers for the site since several years ago, when a Bethesda company proposed building Cumberland Crossing shopping center, which was to include at least one national chain. Those plans were stalled after the economic downturn in 2008.

Love’s, the developer, headquartered in Oklahoma City, has more than 280 locations in 39 states, though none is in Maryland, according to a locator map on the company’s website.

The closest Love’s travel stops are in Virginia, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Property in the area has been noted as a possible future home for the Baltimore Pike Volunteer Fire Company. Its current building’s apparatus bay has developed structural problems and the best option may be a new location or another location on the same land, Dick DeVore, the county’s emergency services director, has said.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.

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