Op-Ed by: Robert Dema
TO: The Nottingham, MD community voters and the political leaders responsible for this area
FROM: Community of Brookfield Avenue (within Nottingham, MD)
RE: CVS (New Construction in Progress)
4140 Joppa Road, Nottingham, MD 21236
In the summer/fall of 2015, two design review panel hearings were held for the CVS/ Double-T diner project, which was planned for 4140 Joppa Road, Nottingham, MD 21236. The residents of Brookfield Avenue (which comprises four homes on a dead-end street where one of the entrances for this project will be located) received two blueprints and were notified of these hearings. All four homeowners from Brookfield Avenue attended so we could voice our concerns and grievances.
At the hearing, the residents of Brookfield Avenue were given a few minutes to speak up and voice their concerns and grievances. We asked about water drainage issues, having a privacy wall built, and for the entrance to be closer to Belair Road (where it has been for the past 16 years for the Double-T Diner) and not further down the residential dead-end street. Those concerns and grievances fell on deaf ears, and we were ignored at the design review panel hearings.
The people needed a voice, and we needed to be heard, so we turned to our county councilman, Mr. David Marks. It’s public knowledge that Mr. Marks was one of the driving forces in getting the CVS to choose this location, along with persuading CVS to keep the Double-T Diner on their newly owned property. So why couldn’t Mr. Marks be the voice of persuasion for the residents of Brookfield Avenue? We hoped Mr.Marks would understand and sympathize with the families and be able to help matters. After numerous phone calls and emails to Mr. Marks, we were told that there was nothing we could do about this project.
Construction for the CVS/ Double-T diner project began in 2017 and, right off the bat, the residents of Brookfield Avenue experienced problems. These issues included: contractor vehicle parking, congesting the residential dead-end street, trash and debris from the construction site in the street and on our property, and water main issues that discolored the water that entered our homes and flowed out our faucets. Mr. Marks was notified about these issues. The residents of Brookfield Avenue grew frustrated, as we were looking for help to protect our neighborhood and families.
One of the major concerns of this project was that the engineer wanted to move the entrance further down the residential dead-end street and directly in front of the home at 4138 Brookfield Avenue. If there was one serious issue the residents were going to fight against, this was it.
For the past 16 years, the entrance for the Double T Diner was closer to Belair Road. It was something we were used to and accustomed to, so why move it further down the residential dead-end street and in front of someone’s home? Once again, to try to be heard and fight against this, the neighborhood came up with a proposal that the four homes signed and submitted to Councilman Marks. The proposal stated consequences like: vehicle headlights shining directly at/into someone’s home when exiting the commercial area, and having vehicles drive further down the residential dead-end street to make a 90° turn into the commercial area, such as noisy trash trucks and freight deliveries at 2:00/ 4:00am. Also, having the entrance further down the residential dead end street enables vehicle traffic to drive further down, possibly missing the entrance then having to make a U-turn at the dead end and then speeding back up the street to get into the commercial area.
We asked for the developers to leave the entrance where it has been for the past 16 years and possibly slant it toward Belair Road for better transition of traffic flow for freight and other vehicles entering and exiting the commercial area. The neighborhood even drew a modification on a third mysterious blueprint, which some residents did not receive, in order to help show that there would be no disruptions in the construction process.
The residents of Brookfield Avenue fear for our neighborhood and our children’s safety, as we know traffic will increase because of these two businesses, one of which will be open 24hrs a day. Once again, after going back-and-forth via phone call and email with Mr. Marks, nothing was done about the situation. This led to the neighborhood seeking out a lawyer, hoping he could find some answers to our questions and hopefully help us. The lawyer contacted Mr. Marks, as well as representatives for CVS and Bohler Engineering, to see if he could get answers. The end result–we were told we missed the ‘appeal process’ and legally they are not obligated to do anything.
After further investigating the situation, records show that an ‘exemption’ for this project was granted, which means there never was an appeal process, there never was a final meeting that would have allowed the residents to speak-up and voice their concerns. Is this legal? Probably, although it is wrong, especially when it directly affects four family homes. There will be two entrances that will allow customers to enter and exit the commercial area. The main entrance is Brookfield Avenue. We have experienced this for the past 16 years with Double-T Diner.
Construction for this newly planned entrance on Brookfield Avenue has not yet begun. There is still time to make the change, and we are pleading for help. The neighborhood is trying to prevent problems before they begin and, more importantly, keep our children and other pedestrians safe. The residents of Brookfield Avenue are trying to prevent serious problems–traffic accidents, pedestrian casualties, and possible loss of life.
We live here and can see the harm and damage that the “planned” CVS driveway will cause for our community. We are asking, once again, for the developers to please leave the entrance at Brookfield Avenue, where it has been for the past 16 years, and possibly angle it toward Belair Road and away from the residential dead-end street.
We appreciate any support we can get for this situation.
Community of Brookfield Avenue