LAUREL, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - There has been a battle to save a historic diner in Laurel from turning into a medical marijuana dispensary. The employees of Tastee Diner are now celebrating as they have renewed hope that the longtime landmark and their jobs will be sticking around.
The owner of the diner had agreed to sell it to a company called Pure Hana Synergy. For it to be a done deal, they just needed the green light from the Laurel Planning Commission.
However, the commission decided on Tuesday that Laurel doesn't need another medical marijuana dispensary because there are several in the surrounding area.
Their vote shocked many who were there to speak on behalf of Tastee Diner. Most people didn't take issue with the medical marijuana dispensary. They just wanted the nearly 90-year-old diner to be preserved. A petition to save it received 2,300 signatures.
Tastee Diner is one of only two of the specific kind of diner car in existence and the dispensary owners would have modified the building.
"I am blown away," said Jhanna Levin of the Laurel Historical Society. "I was not anticipating this at all. I was really focused on trying to make the best of the situation. I was not at all expecting this out of the planning commission."
"If you grew up in Laurel, you know that it is part of the city's fabric," said Richard Friend, who started the petition. "Your parents ate at this diner before you were born. Your grandparents ate at this diner."
"A wise woman once said to me you can't save everything," said another woman who testified before the commission's vote. "That wise woman was my mother, but she said you have to fight to save what is worth saving."
No one from the dispensary would speak to FOX 5, but during the meeting, we learned this has been three-year process for them and they already have a state license.
However, this fight isn't over yet. The Laurel Board of Appeals could go against Tuesday's vote. So the fate of the diner is still up in the air.