ANNAPOLIS/SOUTH COUNTY--Davidsonville * Edgewater * Shady Side * Deale

January 05, 1993|By JoAnna Daemmrich | JoAnna Daemmrich,Staff Writer

Kitchen plan splits historic district

It seemed like such a simple request: The owner of one of Annapolis' oldest taverns wanted to enlarge his kitchen while repairing the leaking roof.

But even though nobody objects to the plan, Jerry Hardesty's attempt to expand the upstairs kitchen at Middleton Tavern is testing the different interests of residents and merchants in Annapolis' historic district.

More than 100 downtown homeowners, restaurateurs and business leaders packed City Hall last night to voice their opinions to the council on what has become the city's great kitchen controversy.

The dispute has been brewing since the Planning and Zoning Commission sided with Mr. Hardesty a couple of weeks ago and agreed to drop 15 conditions on the approval of the expansion.

Among the conditions were a requirement that Mr. Hardesty install a brick sidewalk along the entire length of Middleton Tavern, as well as regulations on trash, loitering, noise and delivery hours.

City Planning and Zoning Director Eileen P. Fogarty called the commission's 3-1 decision "unprecedented" and said it would set a bad example. Other downtown businesses could argue that they also should be exempted from conditions if Middleton is granted special treatment, she said last night.

Several council members challenged her recommendation to include the conditions or deny the request. At least three aldermen argued that it made no sense to require a business owner to pay for expensive public improvements every time a minor repair is needed.

"If every time there was going to be a renovation of a building -- repairing a bathroom for instance -- we activated the conditional use, there would be a lot of deteriorating buildings," said Alderman Ellen Moyer, D-Ward 8.

As different members of the standing-room-only audience applauded or hooted, Alderman Theresa DeGraff, R-Ward 7, added: "Wouldn't it be better if you based those decisions on whether someone needs to go through a conditional use process on common sense? We're making something into a massive big hearing tonight over something that defies common sense."

Mr. Hardesty said he has to repair the back roof of the 142-year-old tavern, which he has run for 24 years, and wants to enlarge the upstairs kitchen to improve service. He said he will neither gain a single seat nor profit from the $150,000 to $200,000 project.

But a number of downtown residents said they believe the 15 conditions should be approved as a safeguard to protect them. Residents who live only a block or two away from the downtown restaurants and bars rely on such regulations to protect them from litter, late-night noise and related problems, said Mike Langrehr, president of the Ward One Residents Association.

"My view is, this is an attempt by the restaurant industry to get planning and zoning out of enforcement," he said. "This is a policy issue."

He and other residents emphasized that they have had few problems with Middleton Tavern over the years. But even though council members and the supporters of Mr. Hardesty said the conditions are outlined elsewhere in the city code, residents said they felt safer having them spelled out in the conditional use permit.

A council vote is expected within 60 days.

County officials prepare plan for county jail site

County officials have begun developing a master plan for the county detention center site on Jennifer Road near Annapolis, involving either the construction of a temporary addition or a permanent 650-bed jail facility.

County Administrative Officer Dennis Parkinson has asked the Department of Public Works to lay the groundwork for the soliciting of bids from private contractors, who will be asked to show what could be built on the cramped 10-acre site.

"We're hoping to have the . . . master plan done by March, which is when we'll be making budget decisions. So they're going to, quote, fast track it," said Louise Hayman, a spokeswoman for County Executive Robert R. Neall.

Detention Center Superintendent Richard Baker's staff is working on a plan that would use $1.8 million in leftover state bond money to expand the jail as an interim measure until plans for a new jail are finalized. Those renovations would include the remodeling of a garage next to the detention center to house work-release inmates and some administrative offices. The current administrative offices would be converted to inmate housing.

Although the master plan will include the possibility of building a new detention center on Jennifer Road, a plan approved by the County Council last month, "it sounds like an addition is more likely than a full-scale detention center on the site," Ms. Hayman said.

Mr. Neall's preference is still to build an addition and look elsewhere for a new detention center site.

Man from Edgewater faces assault charges

An Edgewater man was charged with assault after he allegedly threatened to shoot another man Friday afternoon.

Investigators said Milton J. Blackwell, 28, was fixing a flat tire at the intersection of Oak Drive and Maple Leaf Road in Edgewater at 1:40 p.m. when Everett J. Sweeney walked up to him with a shotgun and said he was going to "blow his head off." Mr. Sweeney then turned and walked away, they said.

The police report said Mr. Blackwell and Mr. Sweeney had been involved in an ongoing dispute.

A short time later, police arrested Mr. Sweeney at his home in the 400 block of Oak Drive.

Navy Secretary to discuss transition

Secretary of the Navy Sean O'Keefe will discuss the issues that will confront his successor in the new administration at 9 a.m. tomorrow in the Naval Academy's Alumni Hall.

Mr. O'Keefe also will review some of the challenges during his tenure.

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