Leave it to Rite Aid to try and pave over Paradise. But that’s exactly what got the citizens of Paradise riled. Rite Aid, which likes to call itself “America’s neighborhood drugstore”, apparently didn’t bargain for the kind of neighborhood response it stirred up in Paradise, MD, a small village in Catonsville in Baltimore County. According to local residents, Rite Aid already has 4 stores within a 3 mile radius of Paradise. Rite Aid proposed tearing down its existing store, buying the property adjacent to it, and building roughly an 11,000 s.f. prototype as a “refinement” of its site plan approved in 1992. Their existing store is thus only 7 years old, but in their quest for “bigger and brighter” stores, Rite Aid tried to take a little bigger bite out of Paradise. Their plan would have closed down a Pizza Hut, a Thai restaurant, and a seafood market. “My main objection is the size of the store,” said Paradise Community Association president Pam Fetsch, “and their attempted acquisition of the other properties. It would destroy our sense of a small marketplace community surrounded by a residential community.” Baltimore County Council Chairman Sam Moxley said “I fear that when you open a store of that size in a residential community on an already busy and narrow street, it has a devastating impact on the community. Rite Aid told residents of Paradise that their “24 hour service has been comforting to our customers, particularly elderly customers and customers with small children. But residents didn’t seem too comforted by Rite Aid’s plan at the most recent public meeting with the company. 400 residents turned out to question the need for the store. Resident Kathy Brownley reports that Rite Aid told citizens in a surprise move that all meetings to discuss the zoning and development had already been cancelled, and that the Pennsylvania-based company had decided to drop its plans for a Rite Aid on Paradise Ave. “For now we feel its a victory,” Brownley said, “and it’s sweet.” So far, Rite Aid’s effort to pave Paradise have come up short.
For further information about the citizen opposition to Rite Aid in Paradise, contact Kathy Brownley by email at [email protected]