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Columbia, MD, self-storage project raises safety concerns for nearby biking/hiking trail
PSG specializes in the adaptive reuse of historic and distressed structures provides brokerage, construction, development and property-management services

May 8, 2018: Real estate developer Poverni Sheikh Group LLC (PSG) is building a 118,000-square-foot self-storage project on a 3-acre parcel in Columbia, Md., but because the entrance on Old Guilford Road will impede access to a popular biking/hiking trail, residents want the facility ingress moved. PSG told county officials that moving it isn’t feasible, according to the source.

Those in opposition to the property orientation created an online petition, which has received 2,266 signatures. Though PSG was willing to move the entrance and would prefer to bring in traffic from another route, a redesign isn’t possible because of grading issues, storm-water management and traffic flow, company principal Eugene Poverni told the source.

As a solution, PSG has offered to expand the road to improve traffic flow as well as build a 10-foot-wide pedestrian pathway adjacent to the road to accommodate trail users. Howard County planners have also announced plans to build a bike/pedestrian pathway along the road, the source reported.

Trail users have previously used Old Guilford Road to access the Patuxent Branch Trail, which runs 4.6 miles along the Patuxent River to Savage, Md. “There’s just an amazing number of people who have been using that trail for years and years. And they had always assumed that that part of Old Guilford Road was a part of the community,” said Shari Zaret, a Columbia Association board member who uses the trail. “Now the concern of the community is that we want to make sure that the safety of the people that utilize that trail is paramount. We’ve got families, toddlers on tricycles and that’s not a great mix in that tight spot.”

According to the source, PSG wasn’t required to hold a public hearing because the property is in an industrial zone.