The Howard County Planning Board is meeting tonight with two items on their agenda: SDP-70-005—BGE Substation Redline and SDP-17-041—Royal Farms Store 186 and Canton Carwash. Here is the agenda:

The item of most interest is the Royal Farms Store and Canton Car Wash proposal on Snowden River Parkway. There has been a big push for this by many in the community…and some that oppose it (but for the life of me I can not understand why).

The Facebook page: Howard County Citizens for Consumer Choice has been pushing hard for this online. Here is what they have in their Facebook event for the meeting tonight:

“Tell the Planning Board we deserve fair competition and lower gas prices in Howard County! They must approve a Royal Farms gas station at Snowden River Parkway and Minstrel Way so we can stop paying 50 cents a gallon more for gas in Columbia.”

I have also seen the Canton Car Wash (Columbia) posting about this topic and the have their own Facebook event to the meeting tonight with the following text:

“Columbia, we need your help! For 8 years we’ve been working on opening a location in conjunction with Royal Farms in Columbia. We’d like to replace an old warehouse with an amazing facility, but we need your support. Please let the planning board know you support the project by emailing or attending the meeting this Thursday. Details in the comments section. Unable to attend? PLEASE EMAIL the planning board by this THURSDAY at noon: Thanks! #KeepItClean #KeepItCompetative #Columbia #HoCo #RoFo”

Based on the documentation before the Planning Board…this looks promising: “DPZ Recommendation: Based upon the above findings, the Department of Planning and Zoning recommends Approval of SDP-17-041, subject to any conditions by the Planning Board.”

I live near that location…and I am in support of having a Royal Farms at that location. The hope is that they do offer lower gas prices and will force the Exxon across the street to lower their prices. While I understand there are no guarantees for lower gas prices…we can hope. If we find out that Royal Farms goes into that location and they do not have lower gas prices…I promise to be one of the people online writing about that fact…and it will not be a positive post for the business if that is the case.

I am a little concerned about the traffic this may generate around that location. That area continues to add new businesses…like: AAA Columbia Car Care Insurance Travel Center, SpringHill Suites by Marriott Columbia, Hampton Inn & Suites Columbia/South, Grotto Pizza, Jimmy John’s and Capital One Bank to name a few…so a new gas station seems to fit in nicely to that location…but someday the county will have to deal with the amount of traffic generated by all of the new businesses in one place…and in a place where the traffic is already not great at times.

The big question of the day: Will the Planning Board take the recommendation of DPZ and approve this tonight…or will this continue to sit in limbo?

If you can not make the meeting tonight…consider this: “Citizens may testify at any public hearing or meeting. Testimony may also be submitted in advance of a meeting via email to, fax to 410-313-3042, or by mailing to Planning Board c/o Department of Planning and Zoning, 3430 Court House Drive, Ellicott City, MD 21043.”

I am sure whatever happens tonight it will be posted all over social media…so stay tuned…I may have a follow up tomorrow on this topic.

Scott E