The U.S. Navy has abandoned a controversial plan to open a McDonald's restaurant at the gates of a Navy station in Annapolis.
Ground-breaking was scheduled for next week, but Naval Academy superintendent Adm. Charles R. Larson scuttled the idea today, after protests from residents worried about crowds and litter. Larson said in a statement that he will consider turning the snack bar of a nearby commissary into a McDonald's outlet instead.
"I was just so delighted that the proposal they made is withdrawn," said Steven Resnick, a lawyer who represented residents fighting the proposal. "I couldn't be happier." The new proposal, he said, "will have to be evaluated."
The original plan called for building the new McDonald's, which would be open to the public, on federal land on Kinkaid Road at the gates of the Annapolis Naval Station across the Severn River from the academy. The station is under Larson's command. The new plan calls for McDonald's to take over a snack bar in a Navy Exchange commissary on the opposite side of the street at the same intersection.
The snack bar currently is open to the public, but is used almost entirely by Navy employes and retirees who use the commissary. If the McDonald's takes over the snack bar it would remain open to the public, Naval Academy spokesman Dennis Boxx said, "but if it generates into a problem we can change that."
Boxx said Navy officials had "underestimated the impact on the community, and their concern." He called the new proposal a compromise that "eliminated the free-standing, drive-through separate building that we believe most in the area were concerned about."