Economy doesn't curb spending on fun
ANNAPOLIS -- Marylanders are continuing to spend more money on entertainment than they did last year, despite declining revenue from income and sales taxes.
Maryland State Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein said residents spent 5.8 percent more on entertainment in fiscal 1992 than in fiscal 1991.
All major entertainment categories, except films, showed increases in 1992.
Despite the increased spending, admissions and amusement tax revenue from the state to Carroll County declined from $447,036 in fiscal 1991 to $424,842 in fiscal 1992.
The revenue is collected at rates set by local officials and returned to local governments each quarter, Mr. Goldstein said.
Bicyclists permitted to ride in city parks
WESTMINSTER -- Bicyclists have the backing of the Westminster parks board to ride in the city's parks so long as the riders don't interfere with other park or playground visitors.
The board plans to recommend that the City Council continue allowing bicyclists and skaters to use municipal parks and play grounds, but adopt an ordinance that would ban harassment of other park users.
The council asked the parks board for a recommendation several weeks ago, after Mayor W. Benjamin Brown proposed banning bicycles from parks. The mayor said he had received complaints that riders were harassing and hitting pedestrians with their bikes.
"I think the parks board recognized that it was not the bicycle riding per se that was the problem. It was the behavior that would interfere with other people's enjoyment of the facilities," said Kenneth A. Yowan, council liaison to the board.
The board will ask the council for a law banning behavior that is dangerous or hampers others' enjoyment of the parks, said Thomas Mitchell, the board's vice chairman.
"That way, we're not targeting one particular activity. We're targeting behavior," Mr. Mitchell said.
The timing of the formal recommendation is uncertain, but Mr. Yowan said it probably would be in October after the board has approved the minutes of its Aug. 20 meeting.
Meditation group has retreats approved
The county Board of Zoning Appeals approved a request Thursday to allow International Meditation Center-U.S.A. to have two annual 11-day retreats on property the group owns near Deep Run in north Carroll.
County officials said the approval, which allows a maximum of 25 people in the congregation to attend a retreat, is temporary and will remain in effect until a permanent retreat center can be built.
The meditation group, which practices what a congregation leader called "noble silence," plans to have retreats from Sept. 11 through 21, and Sept. 26 through Oct. 5.
Future retreats may take place in the spring and fall.
The 11.5-acre retreat site, on which a pagoda has been built, is at 446 Bankard Road, east of Geeting Road near the Pennsylvania border.
Several area residents opposed the plan, citing concerns about traffic on country roads and the group's practices.
The group received Zoning Appeal Board approval in 1991 to have a nine-day retreat to dedicate the new church. The group plans to add a meeting hall, a social hall and another dwelling.
Shopping center plan returns for approval
HAMPSTEAD -- Developers of the Oakmont commercial site on Md. 30 near Greenmount return tomorrow to ask for approval from the town Planning and Zoning Commission.
The shopping center proposal has raised objections from some businesses and residents who say the town doesn't need it because so much business space is vacant elsewhere along Md. 30 and on Black Rock Road.
The commission has said a market study by the developers satisfies them, but they delayed approval until Oak Investment Co. addresses other concerns by various county and state agencies.
The concerns by the agencies include landscape plans, the height of the sign, a septic system, accessibility for handicapped people and other details.
Engineer Richard L. Hull of KCI Technologies, which is working with Oak Investment, said he expects to be able to iron out details and satisfy the county's concerns.
The 12-acre parcel is near the North Carroll branch of the Carroll County Public Library, the new Oakmont Green golf course, and the 90-home luxury residential development under construction.
Oak Investment has a contract to purchase the land and plans to sell it then to Scrivner Inc., the Oklahoma-based company that owns the Super Thrift grocery store in North Carroll Plaza, said James E. Matthews, president of Oak Investment in Timonium.
Scrivner plans to close the Super Thrift store after building the new store, which would be called Festival Foods, said Glen W. Smith, an Oklahoma engineer consulting with Scrivner.
The move could hurt the remaining stores in North Carroll Plaza, which rely on the grocery store and the Ames discount store as anchors to draw traffic.