Efforts to evict the noisy, dusty, industrially gritty Maloney Concrete Co. from the heart of an increasingly up-scale commercial milieu in Bethesda are continuing, but John T. Maloney's resolve to resist remains high.
"There's no place in the county to go. I'm going to stay in Bethesda until I die," said the 62-year-old owner of the plant at Bethesda Avenue and Arlington Road.
In May, Maloney successfully appealed a ruling by the Montgomery County Board of Appeals that the 45-year-old plant had to stop discharging water and concrete residue onto nearby property and could not release smoke, soot and dust in quantities that would leave a visible film on cars parked nearby.
The order would effectively have forced the plant to close.
Developer Thomas C. Miller, who has lined Bethesda Avenue with strips of matching shops and who brought the original suit against Maloney, is appealing the decision and is contesting a zoning exemption given to the concrete company last year by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection.
"The basic situation has not changed," said Miller. "It's all a matter of perspective. I was never happy with doing this against Maloney Concrete. . . . I have to protect my businesses."
Some local business owners still have conflicting feelings about the plant and the legal fight to remove it. Replacing it with an office building or store presumably would draw more consumers to the area, they say, while acknowledging that Maloney's firm staked out its ground long before most of the businesses arrived.
"They are pretty much here to stay," said Carol Thayer, owner of Hot Water Habitats, a hot tub store a half block from the plant. "I think there's such change in this area that obviously there's going to be a time when a concrete company doesn't fit in here.
"But I don't mind . . . . I think it's sort of funky, sort of campy to have this funny concrete building here."