A Prince George's County Circuit Court judge ruled this week that the Marriott Corp. had no grounds to sue the county in a dispute over a Roy Rogers Restaurant the corporation wants to build in Riverdale.
Judge William H. McCullough ruled that since the county has not withdrawn the building permit for the project, and since the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has not withdrawn the water and sewer permit, Mariott has no grounds for a suit.
McCullough's ruling throws the dispute back into the lap of the county government. The County Council and County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr. must now decide whether to withdraw the building permit and risk a suit by Marriott or to take the WSSC to court to force it to withdraw the water and sewer permit.
The County Council passed legislation last June designed to cut down on the number of fast-food restaurants being built in the county by requiring special permission from the council for water and sewer hookups.
Marriott received the sewer permit from the WSSC - the final step necessary before beginning construction - two days after withdrawing a request for the hookup that the council had said it would reject.
The council and Kelly sent a letter to the WSSC on Sept. 5 asking it to withdraw the sewer hookup after heavy lobbying against the restaurant by a Riverdale citizens' group. The restaurant is scheduled to be built at the corner of East-West Highway and Kenilworth Avenue.
The WSSC has refused the county request and, as of now, Marriott can continue with the project.
County attorney James Chaplin said this week it probably would be the end of next week before the county decides its next move.
Kelly and council members have conceded that if the hookup and the building permit are withdrawn, it is likely that the county would be taken to court by Marriott.
"WSSC's granting the hookup was a mistake," Kelly said. "I think our 10 year water and sewer plan makes it clear that WSSC is not supposed to issue a commercial project permit without a council recommendation."