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Planning panel urges limits on some businesses in central district

THE BALTIMORE SUN

The Westminster planning commission unanimously voted last night to recommend to the City Council zoning changes that would bar some business from moving into the central business district.

Residents who prefer a downtown business district that is friendly to all-day shoppers favored the changes at a hearing before the vote, while business representatives sought more study of the proposed changes.

The City Council plans to have a public hearing Sept. 11 before voting on the issue.

The affected area is roughly bounded by John and Bond streets on the west, Longwell Avenue on the east, Winter's Alley and Emerald Hill Lane on the north and Green Street on the south.

Park Avenue resident Laurie Walters urged the commission to recommend the changes to the council. If Westminster wants to promote pedestrian traffic downtown, it has to make some changes, she said.

But James H. Dulany IV, president of the Greater Westminster Development Corp., proposed a comprehensive rezoning study of the city instead of barring some businesses from the downtown sector.

Planning Commission Chairman C. Lawrence Wiskeman said before the meeting that he would prefer to forward a recommendation to the council, which would open the issue to study.

The City Council first proposed the zoning changes, in line with suggestions to create a downtown retail cluster proposed in a 1994 consultant's study.

The cluster suggested in the Hyett Palma study would include clothing, food, hardware, furniture, book, music and jewelry stores and restaurants.

The proposed zoning changes would prevent businesses such as liquor stores, service stations, animal hospitals, adult entertainment centers, feed and grain sales, funeral homes and small carpentry and sheet metal shops from moving into the downtown area.

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