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Prince George’s Co. bill would deter new fast food businesses

UPPER MARLBORO — The Prince George’s County Council is considering giving itself and the public the chance to weigh in before a business owner decides to open a fast-food restaurant, nightclub or liquor store.

The Washington Examiner reports that the council is examining a bill that would force businesses that acquire property to notify the county if they intend to change its use. Currently, property owners don’t have to notify anyone.

The bill says it aims to promote availability of healthy food and beverages and reduce “detrimental” dining options. Councilwoman Karen Toles says fast-food restaurants and liquor stores have proliferated in parts of the county.

Some critics say the bill is an attack on free enterprise. Justin Wilson of the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom calls the proposal “government paternalism.”