McDonald's might get its own way Residents against Annapolis restaurant are now silent

'No use protesting any more'

City officials say golden arches will give area an economic boost

July 23, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

When McDonald's Corp. wanted to bring its famous burgers and fries to historic Annapolis five months ago, area business owners and residents objected loudly and vowed to fight the proposal every step of the way.

But those voices of protest were curiously absent last night as McDonald's made its pitch to the City Council, presenting its application to open an express restaurant in the historic first block of West St.

"There is no use protesting any more," said Tony Cipriano, as he closed his restaurant, Tony's Pizza-n-Pasta, for the night. "Everybody noticed the attitude of the City Council and the planning and zoning board when we objected to the proposal at open hearings.

"It seemed pretty clear that they had made up their minds already to approve the restaurant," said Cipriano, whose business is next door to the proposed McDonald's site. "Who knows? The city has invested a lot of money in revitalizing this area, maybe McDonald's will help."

Cipriano and other restaurant owners like him, who are relatively resigned to having a new neighbor and more competition, say they are concerned that McDonald's does not fit into revitalization plans for the area, which includes upscale restaurants and art galleries.

But city officials -- who recently approved millions of dollars to improve the ailing Inner West Street corridor -- say McDonald's will help give the area an economic boost and perhaps spur businesses to invest in the area.

In the early 1970s, McDonald's failed in an effort to open a restaurant at the City Dock, but rival Burger King did open a franchise farther up Main Street a few years later. That restaurant lost its franchise last year.

As a result of the opposition to Burger King on Main Street, the city zoning ordinance was changed to ban fast-food restaurants in areas marked for the conservation business district. The first block of West St. is not included.

"I speak in favor of McDonald's," Bertina Nick, a resident of nearby Clay Street, addressed the council last night. "One of our concerns is that we need to provide more employment for our community. We hope that many of the people employed by that restaurant will come from the Clay Street area."

Pub Date: 7/23/96

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