WESTMINSTER — A restaurant proposed for the Air Business Center may not take off if county officials continue to oppose the plan.
Donald E. Bullock of Westminster wants to open a family-style eatery in the industrial park surrounding the Carroll County Regional Airport.
But members of the county's Industrial Development Authority say a restaurant is not suitable for an industrial park.
"I'm pursuingit," said Bullock, owner of Westminster Lawn Service on John Street.
Bullock's brother, Robert, owns Bullock's Country Meats and Family Restaurant on Sykesville Road in Westminster. The restaurant at theAir Business Center, which would be called Bullock's Airport Inn, would not be connected with the Sykesville Road business, he said.
"A restaurant is a good idea for the airpark," said Steven Hull, vice president of the Air Business Center Owners Association, which reviewed Bullock's preliminary plans last spring and approved them, he said.
But Russell A. Sellman, IDA chairman, said agreements made when the center was developed in 1980 say retail businesses are not allowed in the center. A restaurant is a "borderline" case, he said. Traffic generated by restaurants, shops, offices or medical offices could cause traffic problems with trucks coming from industrial sites, he said.
The IDA, an arm of the Board of County Commissioners, was created to facilitate industrial development in the county, Sellman said.It oversaw development of the Air Business Center and remains responsible for the park, he said.
"The IDA definitely wants to work with the owners association and try to be helpful in every way. Yet, it is our responsibility to administer the covenants originally developed by the county," said Sellman, a retired banker.
Bullock's attorney, Charles M. "Mike" Preston of Westminster, said he will file papers this week with the city asking for a special zoning exception.
Aspecial exception can be granted only by the Board of Zoning Appealsafter a public hearing.
Bullock wants to open the restaurant on a1.3-acre vacant lot at Airport Drive and Business Parkway North, according to plans filed with the city Oct 6. The land is owned by MaerkLimited, a Frederick development company.
Bullock said the restaurant would have cafeteria and menu service and seat about 160 people.The food will be home-style, similar to Baugher's Country Restaurantin Westminster, he said.
He and his wife, Nancy, would run the restaurant, he said. They've both helped his brother at his business and would buy their meat from him, Bullock said.
Chuck Gaither, a junior accountant with Scottish Imports Limited, located across from where the restaurant would be built, said a restaurant is needed.
"There's nothing close by," he said, adding that he usually drives to Cranberry Mall or fast-food outlets on Route 140 for lunch.
Robert D. Maynard, branch manager for Action Business Systems in the Air Business Center, said he and his wife, who also works in the center, would eat at Bullock's.
"I usually brown-bag it," he said. "The airport is a growing area. As businesses move in, a restaurant would be well-received."
But Sellman said, "It might get down to a legal situation. We're not anxious to do something like that."
A 3-acre lot on Route 97, just south of the Air Business Center and owned by the IDA, would be a better place for a restaurant, Sellman said. The lot, now partially occupied by the county recycling center, would give restaurant traffic easier access to Route 97, he said.
William M. Burke of Manchester has an option to buy the lot and is looking for a business to locate there. A couple of investor groups have shown an interest in building a motel with a restaurant attached, he said.
"Atthis point, with the economic climate the way it is, there's nothinghot out there. Everybody seems to be holding back," Burke said.
He has a concept plan showing a bank, restaurant, postal center and space for businesses that would serve companies in the Air Business Center, he said.
"It's a good site, but it's a down market," Burke said.