The repeated delays for the opening of the local Love’s Travel Shop and Country Store are another example of why Maryland gets a bad rap for being unfriendly to business.
The Love’s opening has been pushed back to early next year, according to a company spokeswoman. She said state permitting has been the issue.
While Kealey Dorian of Love’s did not want to discuss specifics of the permitting process, the project has been slowed by State Highway Administration issues. In June, local legislators and other officials met with the SHA in an effort to speed up the process.
State Highway officials point out that the project impacts several highways and is more complex than some building sites. We’ll cede that fact to them, but surely the process can be quicker than the two years it has taken.
On the other hand, Love’s has said the city of Cumberland has been easy to work with. The Cumberland Municipal Planning and Zoning Commission signed off on the project in 2012.
Love’s should have a positive impact on the local economy. It will have approximately 60 employees.
The Love’s center is the company’s first venture in the state of Maryland, the 40th state in which the company operates. The center is expected to include a Subway and McDonald’s. A tire shop, the Love’s Truck Tire Care, will be aimed at professional drivers, but the rest of the center is designed for use by everyone, Dorian said. Both gasoline and diesel fuels will be available.
The travel center will be at least 10,000 square feet with seven diesel lanes and eight gasoline islands, company officials said.
Now that the project seems to be out of the red tape woods state officials should assess the State Highway Administration’s handling of the permitting process. Maryland is in competition for new business. A slow and cumbersome permitting process works against the interest of the state, and Maryland’s citizens.