Man again at center of dispute in historic Ellicott City Prospective restaurateur appeals zoning decision

July 22, 1996|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

A prospective restaurant owner in the midst of an acrimonious development dispute in historic Ellicott City has asked the Howard County Circuit Court to review a Board of Appeals decision in a separate case.

In the latest dispute, Peter G. Ruff has appealed a board decision letting a Columbia developer build an apartment building for low-income senior citizens on Hamilton Street in the historic commercial district.

In May, the board granted the D. A. McDaniels development company a variance in county zoning regulations to build a 12-unit housing project for elderly people with incomes of $18,000 to $24,000 a year near Old Columbia Pike.

Ruff appealed the board's decision last month. The case has yet to be scheduled on the Circuit Court's docket, said his attorney, Stephen C. Bounds.

"It's a bad idea to put the elderly project there," Ruff said. "It's a critical site in the historic district of Ellicott City, and it should be a park or a retail venture."

Developer Derek A. McDaniels was not available for comment.

Ruff is at the center of a dispute over his proposed restaurant in the district.

A coalition of six of the district's nine restaurants is opposing the opening of Ruff's tavern -- the Milltown Tavern on Old Columbia Pike -- planned for later this year, saying it would worsen the area's parking problems.

The coalition pleaded with the county's Liquor Board earlier this month not to give the tavern a license. A decision is expected Thursday.

But many of the same merchants opposing Ruff's tavern agree with him in the latest dispute.

George Goeller, owner of the district's Phoenix Emporium restaurant and one of the tavern's most vocal critics, said the district is an inappropriate site for an apartment building for the elderly.

Ruff said it is not contradictory for him to fight one development project in the district just as his is being opposed.

"The historic district in Ellicott City is about tourism. Housing for the elderly isn't tourism-related and it has no place here," he said. "A restaurant, on the other hand, makes sense."

Pub Date: 7/22/96

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