Wawa to replace ‘eyesore’ eateries

There will soon be a second Wawa convenience store and gas station in Frederick.

A second Wawa to be built near Francis Scott Key Mall received conditional approval Wednesday from the Frederick County Planning Commission.

Currently, the county’s only Wawa store is on Ballenger Creek Pike.

The 4,100-square-foot convenience store and gas station is set for Md. 355 and Holiday Drive. It will replace two vacant restaurants — Houlihan’s and Perkins — both shuttered in November 2010.

“We can’t wait to see these eyesores torn down,” Richard Kaplowitz, the director of marketing for Uno Chicago Grill-Frederick, said at the meeting.

Kaplowitz was there to offer his support on behalf of the Uno restaurant, but still raised some concerns with the project. He said he was worried about the added traffic and the need for road improvements. County staffers said they would look at those concerns and see if there is anything that can be done to alleviate traffic problems on Md. 355.

With the unanimous approval granted Wednesday, developers of the property said they would begin demolition of the old restaurants in the spring. The Wawa should be opened a year later, according to David Schlachman, one of the developers.

“Wawa has a good product,” Schlachman said.

Only time will tell if the new Wawa affects the Sheetz a mile away on Buckeystown Pike.

Attempts to reach representatives of Wawa and Sheetz were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Hindu temple approved

A 51,425-square-foot, 108-foot-tall Hindu temple was unanimously approved Wednesday to be built on Fingerboard Road near Ed McClain Road.

Five homes for the temple’s priests will also be constructed on the old farm property.

Congregants will come and go throughout the day to pray, according to planning documents.

“You’ve got different rituals that occur throughout the day,” said Noel Manalo, the attorney for the applicant. “We feel it is a great opportunity for the applicant and the congregation.”

There will be 15 special events each year — typically on a Saturday between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. — where up to 300 people will attend throughout the day.

A handful of the 600 members of the congregation — including some of the Hindu priests — were in attendance Wednesday. Right now, they don’t have their own place to worship.

“It’s a very good location,” said Raghuram Janamanchi, one of the members. “It will create one, central location for all congregation members to pray. … The collective prayer has more effect.”

Thyagu Sastrigal, one of the priests, said his members now have to travel all around the region for a place of worship. They live in Frederick and Montgomery counties, and even Virginia.

“Having a temple in this area will help everybody come together,” Sastrigal said.

Some nearby residents expressed concerns; they wondered about the size of the temple and the need for five homes on the property to house each of the priests and their families.

“It’s definitely unique to our county, but it’s not unique to the religion itself,” Manalo said of the requests.

The proposed location was previously approved for a place of worship for the Evangelical Lutheran Church, but those plans never came to fruition. The Evangelical Lutheran Church still owns the land, but was looking for another place of worship to take up residence, according to a church official.

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