The Prince George's County Council has approved recommendations from a zoning official to restrict the operation and development of the Wild World amusement park.
The decision at a meeting Monday follows complaints from Kettering residents who live near the park about late night noise. It also comes more than a month after Richard A. Romine, in a 19-page county zoning report, said that amusement park officials had violated agreements made in the original site plans and said many of the noise problems were caused when the park added or moved exhibits and recreational facilities not specifically outlined in the original plans for the project.
The council endorsed Romine's recommendations and set operating conditions for the park, including a 55-decibel limit on park noise and a mandatory park closing at 10:30 p.m. daily. The council also stipulated that the park must limit fireworks displays to July 4 and Labor Day, a restriction that was part of the original zoning agreement allowing the park to open in 1981, but which neighbors complained had been violated.
County zoning officials said they believed that the 10:30 p.m. closing time had also been part of the original agreement. But Wild World officials argued that the agreement only stipulated that they close the entrance at that time and that activities in the park could go on later.
John Lally, a lawyer representing the park's owners, contested the closing restriction, calling it, "anathema to the function of the park."
In a Nov. 19 public hearing, Lally also challenged Romine's recommendation that Wild World be required to give the Planning Board 30 days notice before acting on physical changes to the park, requesting 15 days instead. He asked the council's permission to channel development requests through the Planning Board's staff to expedite the process. Currently, board members must rule on each request.
But the council, fearing that other organizations would seek special consideration, rejected the requests.