Restaurant complex proposed in Timonium 4 to 5 establishments sought on 13-acre site

January 16, 1996|By Suzanne Loudermilk | Suzanne Loudermilk,SUN STAFF

A prime piece of real estate in Timonium, once targeted for a Price Club membership warehouse that roused the anger of area residents, now may become a restaurant park.

Preliminary plans for the 13.4-acre site on Aylesbury Road off Timonium Road call for at least four to five restaurants to be built on the property, owner Richard J. Powers said yesterday.

Although it has not been decided which restaurants would be included, he said they would be sit-down restaurants, not fast-food establishments. He said he also has to address the thorny issue of liquor licenses, which often are difficult to obtain in the Towson area.

But so far, members of the community seem to support the restaurant park.

"The reaction is positive," said Eric Rockel, president of the Greater Timonium Community Council, an umbrella organization of 30 area community associations.

"The traffic generated would be less than Price Club would have drawn," Mr. Rockel said.

Last year, Kirkland, Wash.-based Price/Costco Inc. proposed building a 136,500-square-foot Price Club store on the property owned by Stebbins Anderson Co. Mr. Powers is a principal stockholder in Stebbins Anderson.

Only a few empty warehouses are located in the parcel. The land has been unoccupied since January 1994 when its former occupant, SACO Supply Co., relocated to Baltimore.

Area residents had expressed fears that traffic would increase in the already congested area if the mega-store was built. They protested vehemently at several community meetings, carrying placards denouncing the project.

The issue eventually came before the Baltimore County Planning Board, which voted against a zoning waiver that the project needed to proceed.

Price/Costco planned to appeal the board's decision, but last month dropped the appeal, leaving the fate of the property near the Maryland State Fairgrounds undetermined until the latest plan.

"We wanted to serve up to the community an alternative to the Price Club proposal," Mr. Powers said.

Also, restaurants are allowed in the commercial zone and would not need special zoning, he said.

A Chi-Chi's Mexican restaurant is located next to the property, and several others are in the York Road corridor.

"There are so many restaurants," acknowledged Tom Kelly, a member of the Greater Timonium Community Council who lives in the nearby Coachford neighborhood.

But he didn't see that as a problem. "They all seem to do well," he said.

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