Faced with strong opposition from Fairfax City bar and restaurant owners, the City Council has scrapped a measure that would have required new businesses to seek a special use permit before selling liquor.

The council had considered imposing the requirement because it wanted to prevent Fairfax City from taking on what Mayor Frederick Silverthorne called "a Georgetown-like atmosphere." But the idea was dropped after restaurant and bar owners complained in mid-May, saying they feared the requirement would make it difficult for them to sell their businesses. Restaurants and bars do not need permission now from the city to sell liquor.

The council has approved a law requiring owners of video arcades and dance halls to seek special use permits every six months. The Board of Zoning Appeals previously granted these temporary special use permits.

In another action last week, the council gave an Annapolis company permission to study the possibility of building a hydroelectric plant near a Fairfax water treatment site on Goose Creek in Loudoun County.

Officials from Synergistics Inc. told the council they will make the study over the next several months. City Manager Ed Wyatt said there are no plans, as far as he knows, for Synergistics to sell low-cost power to Fairfax.

"I have serious questions about whether the company could turn around and sell power to the city," Wyatt said. "It is just looking at our water treatment plant site."

Although Fairfax City is advertising a 30-year franchise for electric service, the hydroelectric plant study is "not related to any franchise decision," Wyatt said.