Fast-food chain seeks rezoning of parcel Arundel's refusal to change ruling against Wendy's in Pasadena challenged

July 12, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

A major fast-food restaurant chain is challenging a county official's decision to deny the company's request to rezone less than an acre of property in Pasadena for a new restaurant.

DavCo Restaurants Inc. of Odenton wants eight-tenths of an acre at the northwest corner of Edwin Raynor Boulevard and Mountain Road to be rezoned from office to retail commercial, which would enable it to construct of a Wendy's restaurant there.

A county Board of Appeals hearing is set for 6: 30 p.m., Tuesday in the County Council chambers on the first floor of the Arundel Center, 44 Calvert St. in Annapolis.

Charles F. Delavan, an Annapolis attorney representing DavCo, declined to discuss the case, saying he did not want to prejudice his efforts or appear to be pressuring the Board of Appeals.

In April, DavCo representatives told Robert C. Wilcox, the county administrative hearing officer, that they wanted the rezoning because a fast-food restaurant was not permitted in the district, which is reserved for office buildings, banks and churches.

Delavan and DavCo argued then that the county should rezone the undeveloped parcel, which is owned by ARMCO Oil Co. of Chicago, because the County Council had erred in 1989 when it originally gave the area the office designation.

For the rezoning to be approved, the applicant must satisfy five requirements.

The most important of the five is that the applicant must demonstrate that there was a mistake in the zoning map or that the character of the neighborhood has changed to such an extent that the zoning map should be changed.

Delavan said ARMCO unsuccessfully petitioned the council to rezone the parcel in 1989. About a year later, the owner of an auto body shop just west of the property successfully petitioned the council twice to rezone from office to retail commercial to highway commercial.

Because of that development, Delavan contended, the council made a mistake when it failed to rezone the undeveloped parcel.

Because of the original petition filed by ARMCO, Wilcox said, the council could not be held responsible for making a mistake

"When a petition is filed, it makes any potential argument for a mistake very difficult," he said. "It forced the council to focus on the property. They not only looked at it generally, but they also looked at it specifically because of the petition."

Wilcox also noted that the auto body shop was rezoned because the shop, which was on the site before the zoning laws took effect, would have been illegal by today's standards.

He said the addition of the Wendy's would not harm the community or its character.

"Whether it is used as C2 or C3, I don't see it being a significant change or a problem in terms of adequate facilities," he said. "They just have to reach the technical standards that I must answer to."

Pub Date: 7/12/96

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