Is this predictable or what? Someone who lives in a pricey house in an upscale, mostly White suburb owns a valuable corner property, zoned commercial, in a mostly Black neighborhood of West Baltimore. The property happens to be within walking distance of a college campus, a high school and an elementary school. The owner of the property wants to redevelop the corner for a restaurant and apparently has a deal with a fast-food chain specializing in 900-calorie hamburgers.

It sounds like a classic — someone who lives miles away from West Baltimore adding yet another fast-food restaurant to an area that already has a mall (Mondawmin) with several eating places (including fast-food). Most importantly, the site adjoins residential neighborhoods. This is the situation described in my Friday Sun column

But the cool thing is, the neighborhoods are fighting back. The property owner wants the city to approve the fast-food restaurant (a Checkers) for a drive-thru and that really got the residents fired up. They say a high volume of traffic and a history of collisions at or near the intersection should make a drive-thru unfeasible.

Despite a setback at the zoning board, it’s possible the opponents will win this battle for something better.

Here’s a lesson for this particular property owner and others: Before you decide what to propose, ask the people who live there first. In this case, there might not have been a battle if there had been a conversation with the community. The neighbors acknowledge that the zoning allows for a restaurant. They just hate the prospect of the one that’s proposed. They think they deserve something better, and I say more power to them.

Here’s a link to my column.

5 thoughts on “Friday’s column: A battle for something better

  1. Common sense would suggest that a restaurant the local citizens favor and would patronize, that it would be more successful than one they oppose from the start.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great thoughts regarding reasons for opposition. If this business is of such value to the community, introduce it to your community. Fast food and decreased property value is not an asset to the Greater Mondawmin Community.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Would the owner want a fast food restaurant fifteen feet from his home? How fair would this be to the family that lives right next door or to the neighborhood? The automotive repair shop currently there closes at a decent hour and the gentleman respects the residents of the community. will a Checkers show that kind of respect…probably not.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Neighbor,
    Thanks to the Enoch Pratt Library, we know the types of businesses that have been located at 2600 Gwynns Falls Parkway since 1940, which included three gas stations, one car business, and a variety of auto repair shops. The current owner purchased the property in 2009. He attended a neighborhood association meeting asking for support to open a gas station. The president at that time was opposed because there were two gas stations in the community: the Gulf station at 2617 Gwynns Falls and a BP in the 2500 block of Gwynns Falls. The latter is nonexistent due to Coppin’s development of its Physical Education Complex, the grand opening and tour Feb. 27, 2010. Although you did not live in the neighborhood then, would you support a gas station now? To be truthful Mr. Ahmad has not had an easy time finding a business for this location. A committee formed to look at possible businesses, including a hardware. No success. So here we are. Strong opposition to any fast food business at this location. There would be opposition to a restuarant with a B/W license at the corner because there is a Fridays at Mondawmin. Lord help us resolve this problem.


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