A public hearing has been scheduled for a Middletown ordinance on limiting formula or chain restaurants in the town.

The hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Dec. 2.

The proposal by Burgess John Miller would ban restaurants that share a name, logo, standardized menu, interior décor or exterior architecture with restaurants in other locations.

It would exempt restaurants with fewer than 10 locations in the mid-Atlantic region that are locally owned and operated but not franchised, or formula restaurants without drive-throughs that are part of a food court or in the same building as other restaurants.

Formula restaurants in gas stations would also be limited to 26,136 square feet in total square footage of their site.

Existing businesses such as the town’s Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway restaurants would be allowed to stay under the proposal.

In recent years, the town has added the Cross Stone Commons — which includes a CVS store, the Dunkin’, two other restaurants and several other stores — and approved another shopping center along U.S. 40 Alternate that will include office space, a storage facility and several retail or restaurant sites.

The ordinance would be subject to review by the town’s Planning Commission, which will hold its own public hearing on the issue.

Follow Ryan Marshall on Twitter: @RMarshallFNP

Ryan Marshall is the transportation and growth and development reporter for the News-Post. He can be reached at rmarshall@newspost.com.

(21) comments

gabrielshorn2013

"The proposal by Burgess John Miller would ban restaurants that share a name, logo, standardized menu, interior décor or exterior architecture with restaurants in other locations."

if a company agrees to keep the exterior to match the existing structures, what difference dies it matter if it's a chain with a standardized menu, with other locations? Not a fig. There are plenty of chain restaurants that have done just that. Not even signage, except for the front window, just like everybody else. Although I enjoy eating different cuisine occasionally, sometimes I want the consistency of an "old faithful", where I know exactly what I am going to get, down to the flavors and proportions. Mr. Miller seems to want to re-create Mayberry. Middletown never was, and all the characters from the show are dead. Keep the facades, but allow a chain or two, That's how fast food caught on; consistency from location to location. A McDonalds burger, or a five Guys burger is the same no matter where you go. Too bad Carabba's went out of business in Frederick. It was always good food, plenty of it, and relative inexpensive.

C.D.Reid

I have to disagree with one of your points, gabe. Many, many of the small towns in Frederick Co. Middletown included, were identical to Mayberry before, during, and after the Andy Griffith show aired.

gabrielshorn2013

I'll have to agree with you on that CD. Middletown was quaint when we moved to the area 30+ years ago. Then came Creamery Row, then Foxfield, then Glenbrook. Where was the desire to preserve the town's "charm" back then? You can easily establish appearance criteria, but not content or ownership. They are overstepping. This proposed ordinance is one lawsuit away from getting shot down in flames. Is the town that flush with cash that they want to roll the dice on such a lawsuit?

C.D.Reid

If you thought this area was quaint only 30 years ago, gabe, you should have seen it 60-70 years ago when I was a kid. I have a post card from the fifties showing the view from the west side of Braddock Mt., I believe the photo for it was taken from the location of the relocated monument to Braddock. The view was absolutely beautiful then, and ruined today, forever. There are still a few Mayberry type towns around, though. Woodsboro is one that comes to mind, even though the site of the old livestock auctions is houses now, along with a subdivision on the old Comstock Farm on Coppermine Road.

DickD

I liked Carabba's too! And I agree, it really doesn't make much difference as long as the restaurant is relatively good and fits in with the rest with no signage that is huge. But that should go for all. And no one that likes a restaurant like the Main Cup is going to be satisfied with a quick hamburg.

Dwasserba

That’s fine. Come eat in Frederick where there’s somewhere for everybody.

gabrielshorn2013

[thumbup] Deb!

C.D.Reid

No thanks. When we want to eat out, we go to either Emmitsburg, Gettysburg, or Westminster. My wife, surprisingly, dislikes Frederick just as much as I do.

DickD

Perfect answer, Deb!

DickD

Can't say I care one way or the other. We have some very good restaurants already, The Main Cup, Fratelli's and a few others. We don't need a McDonalds or other similar restaurant and they would not likely do good in Middletown. As to restrictions, I have mixed emotions about that and there is plenty of room just outside of Middletown for them to have a fast food restaurant. One place would be Hollow Road.

C.D.Reid

By the same reasoning, I'm sure there are Middletown residents who would say they would like to see a McDonalds built, and don't need a Fratellis or similar restaurant. And why do you think fast food restaurants wouldn't do well in Middletown, when they flourish everywhere else?

DickD

They flourish where people are traveling along main roads and near work locations where people go for a quick meal. Middletown is on alt. 40, not considered a "main" road and there are no large employers in Middletown.

C.D.Reid

Define a "main" road, Dick.

bhall74

Typical NIMBY thinking on the part of Miller. Instead of a restaurant that caters to the desires of the citizens, he'd rather have a string of mom and pops that operate for a couple of years, in the red, and then close when the money finally runs out, to be replaced by another mom and pop that lasts for a couple of years before closing.

C.D.Reid

You sound like every mom and pop restaurant is doomed to failure right from the start. The Cozy, in Thurmont, was not only a mom and pop one, but was founded in 1929 and, at the time of its closure, was the oldest mom and pop restaurant in the state. As far as "restaurants that cater to the desires of the citizens," what do you suggest? That the town take a poll of the residents to see what kind of restaurants they want, and then only allow them to open up?

bhall74

Most mom and pop restaurants operate in the red for the first year or two and when the money runs out, they are gone. There are some that catch on and survive longer, or maybe become a local institution. Right now the problem ALL restaurants are facing, and mom and pop's are getting hit the hardest, is the impact inflation is having on their food cost. Chicken wings that were $40/case last year are not $140/case, with similar increases in all other food items, as well as other supplies needed to operate. Then there's the cost of labor, especially when the do gooders push for a $15/hour minimum for all staff. I speak from experience on this issue.

C.D.Reid

Why did Middletown allow such massive residential development over the decades, only to now want to place restrictions on restaurants? At this point, what the hell difference does it make? Way too little, way too late.

DickD

You think that is massive, look at Walkersville. The reason Thurmont hasn't had more is because they are more distant from Baltimore and D.C. Middletown has controlled development better.

C.D.Reid

Dick, if you haven't already, I suggest you open up Google Maps, switch to the satellite layer, and compare Middletown to Walkersville. Granted, both towns have been trashed, and ruined, by over developing but, to me, Middletown appears to be worse.

DickD

Your eye sight is bad, get a pair of new glasses.

C.D.Reid

And I could say the same to you, Dick. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I see no beauty in what has been done to either town.

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