An operating permit for a proposed billiard hall and arcade complex in Towson has been placed on hold until the county permits department receives more information about the project from the applicants, a county building engineer said yesterday.
The original application by D. G. Betz of Games 2000 Inc. was for only a billiard hall in the former Finkelstein's clothing store on York Road.
But the company's plans for an under-21 nightclub require that more stringent code requirements -- such as in occupancy limits and fire safety -- be met before a permit may be granted, said the engineer, John Reisinger.
He said the department's review does not include "background checks" of business operators. "It's not the person we're interested in," he said. "It's what the person intends to do."
David S. Betz, a vice president of the company, is facing a charge of writing a bad check for $420 in May. Court records show several civil claims and judgments against him.
Last year, the 30-year-old Jacksonville man was charged with battery against a girlfriend and received 18 months of probation, which ended this year.
Community members have adopted a wait-and-see attitude about the proposed Four Corners of Towson. "I still want to meet with the owner," Towson Republican Councilman Douglas B. Riley said yesterday.
Justin King, president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations, said, "We're not taking a position yet until we find out more about it and talk to the councilman [Mr. Riley]."
Mr. Betz declined to comment yesterday. But his father, Donald G. Betz, who signed the 10-year lease for the Towson property, said his son would not be responsible for the day-to-day operation of the business.
This week, David Betz said he would be overseeing the Towson operation and a similar business that opened in Jacksonville in May.
The proposed plans for the Towson entertainment complex call for 10 pool tables, as many as 25 arcade games, a stage for local teen bands and an ice cream parlor. "It's not so much a pool hall as a place for kids to go," the younger Mr. Betz had said.
Arnold Finkelstein, who with his brother Jack owns the building that is leased to the Betzes, said that since Donald Betz signed the lease, "He's responsible. If we find it goes sour, we'll ask him to sublease it for something else."
In the meantime, despite David Betz's assertion that the landmark Finkelstein's sign would stay in place, Mr. Finkelstein said, "We have no intention of leaving the Finkelstein's name on the building."