Community groups oppose restaurant at Woodmoor
A new 76-seat KFC/Pizza Hut fast food restaurant could be built in Woodmoor Shopping Center as early as 2003 despite strong protests from local residents.
The KFC/Pizza Hut would be located at the corner of Lexington Drive and University Blvd, a half-block east of Colesville Road.
The Woodmoor-Pinecrest Citizens Association (WPCA) has raised an estimated $5,000 to fight the new restaurant, which would include a drive-through. Residents are worried a KFC/Pizza Hut would cause traffic, noise, pollution and safety problems, according to Paul Manchester of WPCA. "People going to fast food restaurants are in a hurry. They won't be looking out for pedestrians," said Manchester.
The University Blvd-Colesville Road intersection is currently ranked the second-most dangerous intersection in Maryland, according to State Farm Insurance.
The Blair PTSA also opposes the restaurant. In a Feb 19 meeting, the PTSA voted overwhelmingly to oppose the proposed KFC/Pizza Hut, citing concerns that increased traffic in the area would threaten student and pedestrian safety. "We feel that it would really strongly impact student safety," said Marilyn Shoenfeld, co-president of the Blair PTSA.
Emily Vaias, an attorney for Tricon Global, the parent company of the KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell restaurant chains, defended the proposed restaurant. Vaias said Tricon Global has put together a report showing that the new restaurant would be compatible with the local neighborhood and that new traffic would not hurt the area.
Many Woodmoor-Pinecrest residents believe there are enough fast food restaurants in Four Corners to satisfy the community. A more traditional sit-down restaurant without late-night hours would serve residents better, according to Jae Collins, WPCA president.
According to an informal survey of 100 Blair students during the week of Feb 18, 54 percent of students support the construction of the new restaurant.
The KFC/Pizza Hut would accompany a new landscaping design for the rear of Woodmoor Shopping Center that would include more green space and shrubbery, according to Vaias.
A hearing will be held on May 29 to determine if the restaurant will receive a "special exception" for zoning purposes. Due to the current zoning classification of Woodmoor Shopping Center, an exception is necessary for a fast food restaurant to be built. The exception would allow planning to proceed, with construction possibly starting early in 2003. The restaurant would take three to four months to build.
Woodmoor-Pinecrest residents were not opposed to the McDonald's built at the University Blvd-Colesville Road intersection because it was outside their community boundary, according to Collins.
For more information about the WPCA's fight against the KFC/Pizza Hut, visit http://www.geocities.com/nochicken2002/
Matt Yalowitz. Matthew Yalowitz, a junior in the Communication Arts Program, is enjoying the school year as a page editor on the staff of Silver Chips. In his spare time from Chips, Matthew enjoys fencing, running cross country and helping to get the Blair Student Democrats Club … More »