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Roland Park on Rotunda Arcade: Tilt

Members of the Roland Park Civic League worried the arcade may entice the wrong crowd to hang out at the struggling mall.

Ira Miller, owner of the Rotunda Cinemas and would-be arcade impresario, agreed to delay his scheduled hearing with the city’s zoning board on Tuesday.

Miller was seeking support from the Roland Park Civic League to open an old-fashioned arcade, featuring games such as pinball and skeeball, across from his theaters in the Rotunda. To open the arcade Miller needs approval for a "conditional use" from the Board of Municipal and Zoning Appeals that will depend heavily on neighborhood support.

"I just want to do something nicer for the Rotunda," Miller said.

But members of the civic league were skeptical of Miller’s plans, and expressed their dislike for the concept of the arcade. Several members worried aloud about teenagers hanging out and hurting business further at the struggling Rotunda.

Miller said that he would like to have 25 machines in the space and have it open from 1 to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

"I would like to find a way to use this space but not for that use," Roland Park Civic League President Phil Spevak said.

Miller tried to assuage fears by telling the civic league he has no intention of opening something that would hurt his more than $750,000 investment in the . He has added two screens to the theater, brining the total to four, upgraded the sound and projection systems and will open a coffee shop at the theater shortly.

"It was just an idea, OK. It was just an idea to get more families into the Rotunda," Miller said.

Civic league members also expressed concerns about supporting the conditional use because that use would be allowed at the space going forward, even if Miller’s arcade doesn’t succeed. Spevak argued the use could end up with someone using the space for "peep shows" or electronic gaming.

Miller agreed to delay his meeting and to possibly seek an "accessory use" that would tie the use of the space as an arcade to the operation of the theater, and not the physical space in the mall.

"I get it," Miller said. "I’ll do whatever you want me to."

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Karen Beaudouin July 07, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Well stated, Genny. As a RP resident I agree. RPCL - respect and support your neighbors.
Able Baker July 09, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Is this sarcasm?
AnnKangarouse July 09, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Is The Rotunda Theatre a discount theatre now?? Is the theatre the only business left there? What film had the two gentleman fighting in the parking lot? Did someone chck their ticket stubs to determine thta these two were trouble makers from the cinema?
B'More Girl July 12, 2012 at 08:09 PM
This is like deja vu -- does anyone remember the rants of Del. Pat McDonough about gangs of kids taking over the Inner Harbor. I have friends who live in RP would cringe at the thought of being compared to him. And, if RP and other local residents had promoted and purchased from the many retail stores at the Rotunda, then stores wouldn’t be available. Remember The Bead? When I worked at Hopkins I loved going there to shop. And the movie theatre, we all know that story. Shame on the leaders of the Civic League for being so small minded. As for the comments from the HCC president, I think it is great that your group chimed in on this but not because the Rotunda is in Hampden. I’ve worked on many issues where I live and I am always disappointed at the fact that associations see their borders as the end of the problem. When another house was being torn down for a parking lot in my neighborhood, it was across the street from another association’s area. I asked if we could flier the adjacent houses to come to our meeting and presentation and was told that the houses weren’t in our association. Give me a break! So should the RPCL have a say, sure, but I don’t think it represents the opinions of most of the residents of RP.
AnnKangarouse August 10, 2012 at 07:51 PM
Hmmpt. As if.....

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