A handful of Hagerstown residents Wednesday raised concerns with Washington County liquor officials Wednesday over a businessman's plan to open a bowling alley this spring near Longmeadow Shopping Center.
Many of the residents said they believed that Ash Azadi's plan to open a restaurant and bowling alley in the former Long Meadow Bowl building at 19330 Leitersburg Pike could create parking problems and excess traffic.
"The parking at best ... there could be 200 (vehicles) out there," former Hagerstown City Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh told the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County. "I don't know where they're going to park."
Azadi said he received the proper permits from Washington County officials to proceed with the project.
But Daniel DiVito, director of Washington County Department of Permits & Inspections, wrote in an e-mail after the hearing that although the building permit has been granted, the parking issue remained unsettled.
"The issue of ... adequate parking for development of the rest of the building remain(s) unresolved," DiVito wrote in the e-mail. "We are dealing with the bowling alley only at this time. Any future development of the rest of the property must comply with current (regulations)."
Azadi assured the seven residents who attended the hearing that the bowling alley would be operated properly. He also said that rumors of a nightclub opening at the property were untrue.
"I live in the community," Azadi said. "We want to bring a good, clean, safe business to Washington County."
Creg Cronce, who Azadi hired to manage the bowling alley, told the liquor board that the business would stay open on Fridays and Saturdays until 2 a.m. and probably until 11 p.m. on other nights.
Cronce said after the hearing that the business would have a 22-lane bowling alley with an upscale restaurant.
"I'm in the process of hiring a trained chef," Cronce said. "It's not a standard mozzarella sticks in the fryer. We're talking upscale food."
Cronce said the business also will have an arcade similar to those found at Dave & Buster's restaurants.
Workers still are remodeling the inside of the building, Cronce said. If everything goes as planned, the business will open in mid-May.
Cronce said he plans to hire 35 to 50 people.
Liquor board Chairman Robert L. Everhart said the three-member panel would consider Azadi's request and make a decision within 30 days.
Azadi would have to receive the proper permits and pass inspections from the health and fire departments before he can receive a liquor license, Everhart said.