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Public is silent on betting Council votes to regulate OTB


Westminster's City Council had a public hearing on a proposal to regulate off-track betting last night.

Nobody had anything to say.

The council voted unanimously to add off-track betting to the city ordinance governing adult entertainment, after hearing no comment at the brief hearing.

The ordinance, sponsored by Mayor W. Benjamin Brown, will make off-track betting parlors special exceptions requiring public hearings and approvals from the city zoning appeals board.

"In matters pertaining to off-track betting, the community of Westminster deserves a public hearing," Mr. Brown said.

Champs Restaurant and The Westminster Inn have expressed interest in off-track betting, but officials say other areas have priority. No decision on a parlor in Carroll County is expected soon, Tom Lattanzi, OTB project director for Laurel-Pimlico, said last month.

The council also asked for a staff recommendation by next month on the year-old issue of whether to allow fishing at a city-owned pond in the Eden Farms subdivision.

Council President William F. Haifley reminded his colleagues that a request to allow ice skating on the pond was referred to the city parks board in February 1992. Two months later, the council referred a request to allow fishing to the board.

The consensus last night was that insurance requirements to protect the city from liability would be too onerous if it allowed ice skating. Councilman Kenneth A. Yowan said the insurance company's list included daily ice measurements, daily skating reports to the media, bans on skating after dark, requirements for minors to be accompanied by adults and signs warning that skaters would take to the ice at their own risk.

Fishing requirements are less stringent, but city police must patrol the pond during the hours the pond is open to fishing, said Thomas B. Beyard, planning and public works director.

He also said the pond lacks an accessible public entrance.

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