Booze News: Distilled in Room 215

A blog about the Baltimore City Liquor Board

What happened at the Liquor Board on December 3, 2015.

Written by Becky Witt

At the Liquor Board hearings on December 3, 2015, Chairman Neil began by noting that the Baltimore Sun had published an op-ed from Hampden Community Council President Shannon Wrenn. Wrenn wrote that Neil had said, during a September 17, 2015 hearing, that MOUs are not enforceable. She cited a Maryland Court of Appeals case in which the court held that, if licensees have consented to restrictions on their license, those restrictions can be enforced against them in the future. Neil said that this interpretation of the Fells Point Cafe case is exactly what he has done. He said that Wrenn’s quote of him was “a misquote and probably a misunderstanding” and that he wanted to “clarify the record.”

1:00 p.m.

I. Regular Docket (Transfers, New applications and hardship extension):

Applicants Warren Rodgers, Charles Bennett & Geneva Brown
Business Name Eastside Reindeer Association, Inc.
Trading As Eastside Reindeer Association
Address 1228 E. Preston Street
Type of License Class “C” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

Licensee Charles Bennett was present at the hearing, without an attorney. Mr. Bennett testified that his building is very old and had sustained structural water damage. Bennett and his co-licensees are trying to sell the building and move the license somewhere else, but they have to pay back property taxes and other debt to the City first. The problem is that the license is a Class C license, which may require the legislature to amend Article 2B to allow the license to move. The business has been closed since April, and the hardship extension request was made in October./td>

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Oliver
Area demographics 2% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian, 1% 2 or more races; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 34% of households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $21,224; 29% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Article 2B section 10-504(d) requires that the Board make a finding that undue hardship currently exists causing the closing or cessation of business operations. The Board did not make any findings; they merely voted “yes, yes, yes.”

Applicant Corey Polyoka
Business Name Farmhouse Diner and Oyster Shed, LLC
Trading As Shoofly
Address 510 E. Belvedere Avenue
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Request for a hardship extension under the provisions of Article 2B Section 10-504(d)
Hearing notes

Mr. Joseph Woolman represented Mr. Polyoka in his hardship extension request. Polyoka operated Shoofly as part of a restaurant group with Woodberry Kitchen, but they faced high occupancy costs, which caused the restaurant to run a loss. They stopped operating Shoofly as a restaurant but continued to use the building for canning. They’re now working on a new concept and using new capital to rebrand Shoofly.

Commissioner Trotter asked, “so the hardship is that you ran out of money?” Polyoka responded affirmatively, that they could not make the restaurant work at a diner price point. Operation of the business ceased on May 24; the hardship extension was requested in October.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Chinquapin Park
Area demographics 69% Black, 23% White; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 29% households have children under age 18; median household income: $44,853; 6% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee Mr. Joseph Woolman
# in support 1
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

Article 2B section 10-504(d) requires that the Board make a finding that undue hardship currently exists causing the closing or cessation of business operations. The Board did not make any findings; they merely voted “yes, yes, yes.”

Applicants Nancy Mola & Richard Diehl
Business Name Gunther Boiler Works, LLC
Trading As Gunther & Co.
Address 211 S. Conkling Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership & location of a Class “BD7”BWL license presently located at 2320-22 Boston Street to 1211 S. Conkling Street, request for live entertainment, outdoor table service & off-premise catering
Hearing notes

Attorneys Stanley Fine and Justin Williams of Rosenberg Martin Greenberg represented the applicants. They submitted letters of support from Canton and Brewers Hill community associations, both of whom the applicant had met with prior to the hearing. The attorneys proffered that the application is for a transfer of ownership and location of a BD-7 license to the historic Gunther Brewing Company building. The business will cater to residents nearby and in the building, featuring modern American cuisine and an oyster bar. The applicants submitted a sample menu, photos of the proposed interior and a copy of the Planned Unit Development ordinance (PUD). Under the PUD, live entertainment and outdoor seating are permitted by right. The attorneys also submitted articles on the project from the Baltimore Business Journal and the Baltimore Sun. Between the landlord and the tenant, there will be $3.2 million spent on the project. Ms. Mola submitted her resume, with 20 years’ experience in the restaurant business.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Highlandtown
Area demographics 66% White, 9% Black, 3% Asian; 19% Hispanic ethnicity, 17% households have children under age 18; median household income: $60,484; 15% households live below the poverty line
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Chevy Chase, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Unclear; the docket did not contain documents for this application.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident Unclear; the docket did not contain documents for this application.
Attorney for licensee Mr. Stanley Fine and Mr. Justin Williams, Rosenberg Martin Greenberg
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

The docket provided by the Liquor Board did not contain documents for this application.

Applicant Kenneth Plante
Business Name Dead End Bar & Grill, LLC
Trading As Dead End
Address 933-35 Fell Street
Type of License Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application for a new Class “B” Beer, Wine & Liquor restaurant license under the provisions of Article 2B Section 6-201 (d) (vii) $500,000 in capital investment in restaurant fixtures and facilities and seating capacity for a minimum of 75 people
Hearing notes

Mr. Melvin Kodenski appeared, with the applicant; he was joined by Mr. Fred Lauer, on behalf of a neighbor to the property. Kodenski and Lauer jointly requested a postponement, in order to come to an agreement on an amended business plan. The Board granted their request.

Zoning B-2-2
Neighborhood Fells Point
Area demographics 53% White, 32% Black, 8% Asian, 3% 2 or more races; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 6% households have children under age 18; Median Household Income: $38,331; 5.5 % households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Yes; yes.
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 1%
Attorney for licensee Mr. Melvin Kodenski
# in support 1
Attorney for community Mr. Fred Lauer
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Postponed
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicants Marc Gentile, Tim Whisted & Scott Donnelly
Business Name Little Havana Management
Trading As Little Havana
Address 1325 Key Highway
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Application to transfer ownership and location from 1501 Covington Street
Hearing notes

The three applicants, all current licensees at Little Havana, testified on their own behalf, without an attorney. Mr. Marc Gentile told the commissioners that Little Havana has existed for almost 20 years under its current Class B restaurant license, which currently prohibits the sale of package goods. The licensees purchased the BD-7 license and want to move it to their location so that they would have the opportunity to sell package goods as well as sell on-site.

Commissioner Trotter asked whether the licensees plan to modify their store. Gentile responded that they did not have any plans to do so. They are just buying the BD-7, because they thought it would increase the worth of their business overall. They may sell to people who dock their boats at the nearby marina but have no current plans to change their business.

The applicants submitted letters from Federal Hill South and Riverside community associations. Commissioner Hafey asked for signed copies of the letters, since the copies provided were not signed. The letters were also addressed to the BMZA, not to the Liquor Board, but they were about the same issue.

Zoning M-3
Neighborhood Inner Harbor
Area demographics 80% White, 12% Black, 4% Asian. 3% Hispanic ethnicity. 11% households have children under age 18. Median household income: $78,578. 12% households live below poverty line.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? There is no entity registered with SDAT called “Little Havana Management.”
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? Yes.
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident 55%
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 0
Result of hearing Approved
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed

It was not entirely clear from the testimony given at the hearing, but it seems as though the applicants have requested a BMZA hearing but have not received approval from the BMZA to use their property as a restaurant with live entertainment and dancing. The building is zoned M-3 industrial, which requires a conditional use permit in order for a property owner to have live entertainment and dancing. The licensees should still have to go before the BMZA to get approval and then come back before the BLLC to get that same approval, in a separate hearing. It was unclear from what was discussed at this hearing whether that second BLLC hearing will take place, but Article 2B section 10-202(a)(4)(iv) requires it.

II. Violations:

Licensee Margarita Del Rosario
Business Name N/A
Trading As El Deportivo Sports Bar
Address 110 S. Haven Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct – November 8, 2015 – At approximately 12:30am, BLLC Inspectors Chrissomallis, Karanikolis, Howard and Fosler were making observations of the establishment. At approximately this time, Inspectors observed a patron exit the front door of the establishment and urinate approximately four feet from the front entrance Inspectors took video footage of the incident. The patron then reentered the establishment. Afterward the Inspectors entered the establishment and observed patrons to amplified music. Inspectors noted that the restrictions on live entertainment allowed at this establishment do not include dancing. The then Inspectors advised the licensee of the violation and left the location.

Hearing notes

The licensee was present, with a friend to interpret. Liquor Board Agent Mark Fosler testified that he, with Inspector Chrissomallis and Inspector Howard, had observed security personnel checking patrons going into the bar on November 8, at 12:30. They observed a male patron exit the front door, walk four feet to his left, and begin to urinate on the public sidewalk at the front of the building. The man re-entered the building immediately after urinating. Chrissomallis took a video of the incident, which the commissioners declined to viewe. When the inspectors entered the business, they saw numerous people dancing, and the music was extremely loud. The manager lowered the volume of the music, after being told to do so by the inspectors. The inspectors showed the video of the public urinator to the manager and explained to her that she did not have permission for dancing at her bar.

Ms. Del Rosario testified, through her friend, that she agrees that what the inspectors said happened did take place. She saw the video. But she can’t see what happens outside when she is inside the bar. The dancing, she said, started happening when she went outside with the inspectors to view the video.

Chairman Neil said that the question is whether the licensee is responsible for a patron who goes outside, relieves himself, and comes back inside. Commissioner Hafey asked the licensee if the bathrooms inside were in working order. She replied that they were.

The inspectors said that there have been 311 calls and complaints about this bar, but mostly about loud music, which has been abated when the inspectors ask the owner to turn it down.

Zoning M-2-2
Neighborhood Baltimore Highlands
Area demographics 77% White, 12% Black, 5% Asian; 4% Hispanic ethnicity; 18% households have children under age 18; median household income: $54,278
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? N/A
Location of entity’s principal office N/A
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 3
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 3
Result of hearing Responsible. $250 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous
Portions of state law cited in decision None
Other reasons given for decision None
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Licensee Wilhelmina Watnoski
Business Name W.J.T., Inc.
Trading As Walt’s Inn
Address 3201 O’Donnell Street
Type of License Class “BD7” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing Violation of Rule 4.18 Illegal Conduct – November 8, 2015 – At approximately 1:30am, BLLC Inspectors Chrissomallis, Karanikolis, Howard and Fosler were making observations of the establishment. On the exterior of the establishment Inspectors observed an advertisement for karaoke. Between the hours of 1:30am and 2:05am BLLC Inspectors discreetly observed patrons participating in a karaoke – by singing into an amplified microphone with music playing in the background. This establishment is not licensed by the BLLC to provide live entertainment.
Hearing notes This hearing was postponed.
Zoning R-8
Neighborhood Canton
Area demographics 86% White, 4% Black, 3% Asian; 5% Hispanic ethnicity; 9% households have children under age 18; median household income: $82,130
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee N/A
# in support N/A
Attorney for community N/A
# of protestants N/A
# of inspectors/police officers N/A
Result of hearing Postponed
Vote tally N/A
Portions of state law cited in decision N/A
Other reasons given for decision N/A
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None
Applicant Angel Ayeni
Business Name Triple A Limited
Trading As Triangle Liquors & Package Goods
Address 2101 Homewood Avenue
Type of License Class “A” Beer, Wine & Liquor License
Reason for hearing

Violation of Rule 4.18: Illegal Conduct – October 25, 2015 – At approximately 2:30pm Inspector John Howard responded to the establishment based on complaints he received that it was open and operating on a Sunday. Upon arrival, Inspector Howard observed the establishment to be open and operating. Howard entered the premises and asked for and received a bottle of 24oz beer for purchase. At that time he identified himself to the bar manager/licensee, Ms. Angela Ayeni, and informed her that as a Class A establishment without a Special Sunday permit she was not allowed to operate on a Sunday. After Howard’s warning, Ms. Ayeni apologized and closed the establishment. At 7:30pm, on the very same day, Inspector Howard received a phone call that the establishment had reopened and was operating. Inspector Howard responded to the establishment and observed it to be open and operating and Ms. Ayeni behind the counter waiting to serve patrons. Howard then issued a violation against the licensee.

Hearing notes

Ms. Ayeni was present, without an attorney, and admitted the violation. However, due to some confusion about to what extent she admitted the violation (partially, it seems, due to a language barrier), Inspector John Howard testified to what he saw and heard. Howard said that on October 25, at 2:00pm, he received a call on his personal cell phone from a community member that Triangle Liquors was open on a Sunday, though they have a six-day license that requires them to be closed. [Howard explained that he had attended a community meeting and had given out his cell phone number to community members so that they could contact him directly.] When Howard arrived at the store around 2:30pm, the front door to the store was open. He entered, asked to purchase a beer, and Ms. Ayeni sold it to him. Afterwards, Howard identified himself as a BLLC inspector and told the licensee that her license does not allow her to be open on a Sunday. He told her to close the store immediately. She responded that she had just stopped in to use the computer on her way home from church. Howard told her again to close the store and that she is not allowed to be open on Sundays. Howard received a second call, later that night that the licensee was still open. He returned to the store at 7:30pm, saw that she was open, and charged her with a violation. She refused to sign the violation report form. Under questioning from Neil, Howard said that the licensee had asked him if she could help him when he entered the store, and she was behind the counter.

Ms. Ayeni testified that the previous night, someone had broken into her store and stolen merchandise. She saw the damage as she was coming home from church and called her brother to come and help her. She said that she has never had an inspector come to her store at 8:00pm. Ayeni testified that Howard was upset with her for being open. She said that she doesn’t want trouble, that she’s a nice woman and gives credit to her customers, but they slash her tires and cut her computer cords. Ms. Ayeni’s brother was present at the hearing and corroborated her testimony that she was waiting for him to come.

Commissioner Trotter asked whether the bar is a community problem. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth responded that there is not much history of complaints in the file. The last violation was in 2010.

Ms. Ayeni complained that she had had a similar break-in two years ago, that someone had broken through the wall in the basement of the adjacent vacant building. She called the police at that time, but the police were not helpful. She said that talking to the police was a “total waste of time.” Commissioner Trotter asked about the financial loss from the theft. Ayeni responded that it was about $6,000 worth of merchandise, in alcohol and cigarettes.

Zoning R-8
Neighborhood East Baltimore Midway
Area demographics 1% White, 96% Black, 0% Asian; 1% Hispanic ethnicity; 38% households have children under age 18; median household income: $30,821.90.
Does corp entity exist, in good standing? Yes; yes.
Location of entity’s principal office Baltimore, MD
One applicant reside in Balt for 2 yrs? N/A
Pecuniary interest of Baltimore City resident N/A
Attorney for licensee None
# in support 2
Attorney for community None
# of protestants 0
# of inspectors/police officers 1
Result of hearing Responsible for violation. $250 fine.
Vote tally Unanimous.
Portions of state law cited in decision None.
Other reasons given for decision Commissioner Trotter suggested lowering the fine because of the financial loss of the theft.
Issues raised in audit present in this case or other issues observed None.

4:00 PM

Additional Public Comments on the Revisions to the Rules and Regulations for Alcoholic Beverages and Adult Entertainment

Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth began the hearing with a list of updates that the BLLC staff had made since the last set of hearings, on December 3. Some of the changes included: a section listing the criteria that the Board should consider to approve or disapprove an application; a procedure for a licensee to request a hardship extension or request to reopen after being closed for three consecutive months; and clarifying regulations regarding “bottle service.” She also listed the letters and other sets of comments that the agency had received from various organizations and individuals, including Community Law Center, the Baltimore City Planning Department, Hampden Community Council, Better Waverly Community Association, the Homeland Association, the Fells Point Community Organization, Councilman Bill Henry, and Mr. Victor Corbin.

Baltimore City Councilwoman Sharon Green Middleton testified first, saying that she was merely present in support of the community leaders from the Park Heights neighborhood. She said that Park Heights is a large community with a very large concentration of liquor establishments. Her community is pushing for major revitalization and redevelopment, which they believe could be hindered by inadequate regulation of alcohol outlets.

Mr. George Mitchell, president of Neighborhoods United, from the Park Heights area, testified that his neighborhood has more liquor establishments than anybody in the world. In some blocks, there are three liquor stores in one block, which is not good for the neighborhood. He told the commissioners that if the stores are breaking the law in the smallest way, they should be closed down.

Mr. Cheo Hurley, a resident of the neighborhood of Ashburton and Executive Director of Park Heights Renaissance, testified that he is working to create a new vibrant community in Park Heights through the Park Heights Master Plan. He was particularly concerned about the rules regarding taverns. The current rules have prohibited the transfer of ownership of taverns with separated package goods stores, but transfers of ownership of these businesses have continued to be approved. In the proposed rules, this provision is removed altogether. He noted that the word “habitually” which has been roundly criticized by community members as well as a licensee in one instance, is confusing. Instead, the rules should use the term “primarily” to talk about on-site consumption of alcoholic beverages for taverns. He said that taverns should operate for the purpose of people coming in, sitting down, and consuming alcohol on-site, not as package goods stores.

Mr. Ronald Anthony Mills, a 25-year resident of Park Heights, who also works for Park Heights Renaissance, testified to the same issues with the proposed rule about taverns. Said Mills, if you juxtapose the traditional definition of “tavern” with the taverns that you see in Park Heights, you would wonder who’s coming in and sitting down. There is no space devoted to on-site consumption. If you can even get behind the plexiglass partition, you have to request to be served. There is no bartender. He asked, “how often do inspectors visit these locations” and “what is the penalty” for not following the rules. Mills closed by asking the Board to compare the so-called taverns in Park Heights to the taverns in Fells Point, in terms of the environment inviting you to sit down.

Mr. Christopher Madaio, a resident of Washington Hill, submitted a letter to the commissioners, which he also explained in his in-person testimony. Madaio’s comments and suggestions “serve to ensure that the rights of community members protesting or opposing a license are equivalent to the rights of the licensee.” He suggested that community members be allowed to cross-examine licensees, that there be no requirement to submit documents ahead of time, that community members be allowed to file requests for reconsideration, and that all reconsiderations happen on the record. Regarding the evidence submission requirement in proposed Rule 2.07, Madaio wrote, “I do not believe that it should be more difficult to admit evidence in a BLLC hearing than it is to admit evidence in a trial in the District Court of Maryland, in which there is no deadline for submission of evidence.”

Ms. Shannon Wrenn, president of Hampden Community Council, testified that she was concerned about Chairman Neil’s comments in the September 17 hearing that the Board does not have the authority to enforce MOUs. Chairman Neil replied that he had responded to her op-ed earlier, during the 1pm docket. He said that the Board’s policy has been to place restrictions on licenses with the consent of the licensee, according to the Fells Point Cafe case that she cited. He concluded that her allegations were “patently untrue.” [To read the Booze News post for the hearing in question, click here. For the video of the hearing, click here. Ms. Wrenn is correct that Chairman Neil said, on September 17, that “we don’t have the authority to enforce MOUs.” After an outcry by community members, leaders, and representatives, the commissioners did impose restrictions at various hearings with the consent of the licensee, stated in a written MOU. This subsequent change, however, does not erase what the Board members said explicitly on September 17, which has never been properly addressed and clarified.

Mr. William Miller, President of the Northern District Police Community Relations Council, testified that he was concerned about the Board’s action in the Stadium Lounge case, in which the Board allowed a problem bar to reopen after only two months of their six months suspension. He also disagreed with the proposed requirement that all documentation be submitted 48 hours in advance and requested that both sides (including community members) be allowed to request reconsideration.

Ms. Joan Floyd, a 20-year resident of Remington, raised several issues. She suggested that the proposed rule regarding appeals refer to all parties as appellants, not licensees, because other parties file appeals besides licensees. She pointed out that the draft rules do not address any procedure for removal of restrictions on an existing license. She objected to the characterization of a “contract purchaser” as a license holder, because contract purchasers do not have to go through a hearing procedure in order to take ownership of a license. Finally, she raised the issue of the 50% rule, which is found in Article 2B section 10-202(e). She objected to the fact that the rule creates different classes of participants, based on whether they own or rent property. From how the rule was drafted, it seemed to Floyd that tenants had certain advantages over property owners, which she did not think was prudent or fair.

Mr. Victor Corbin testified about some confusion in the protest of renewal process, which he thought could be clarified in the rules. He agreed that community members should be allowed to request reconsideration. He had the same concerns about BD-7 tavern licenses, operating as “faux taverns,” liquor stores with a tavern license. He told the commissioners that some establishments put “three bar stools in the back of the room against the wall” and argue that suffices to be a tavern. Mr. Corbin said that all licensees, even “good” ones, should be held to the same standard. He pointed out Bin 604, which operates as a liquor store under a tavern license. Instead, said Corbin, the state legislature should create a new 7-day Class A liquor store license, with restricted hours, which the BD-7 license holders could exchange their license for. Corbin submitted photographs of individuals who he testified were intoxicated, passed out on the ground in his neighborhood. Mr. Corbin added that it is important to apply the rules equally and fairly to both the applicants/licensees and to the community members.

Ms. Chrissy Anderson, President of Fells Prospect Community Association, testified that BD-7 licenses in particular create issues for her community. She raised issues from the 2013 Legislative Audit, which have not yet been addressed. As far as the legislative recommendations from the committee, Anderson testified that she did not support the suggestion to remove the residency requirement from Article 2B. She said that this requirement was very important, to ensure that the licensees have a financial interest in the city. Anderson also expressed concerns about the composition of the Rules and Regulations Committee, which did not have a representative from the Southeast area of Baltimore and almost no community representation at all. She noted that the committee was almost solely composed of people with financial interests in liquor sales.

Mr. Stan Wilson, a representative of the Homeland Association, also submitted a letter of his main concerns, which had been raised by others. He said that his organization has worked with Councilman Henry’s office to address problem establishments along the York Road Corridor.

Mr. Mark Parker, candidate for Baltimore City Council and pastor of Breath of God Lutheran Church, testified that there are establishments in his community which receive shipments of alcohol, which they then move to another location, illegally. These establishments then submit receipts showing purchases to prove that they were open and operating, but they really have not been. He wondered if the Board could clarify what “closure” means and if the Board could require licensees to submit records that they were actually open and operating at renewal time. He also suggested that the Board define what qualifies as an “undue hardship” under the 180-day rule.

Mr. Ivo Jamrosz, Chair of the Liquor Advisory Committee for the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association, testified that he is concerned about bar crawls, which his neighborhood has had issues with in the past, especially around holidays like Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day. He said that the Halloween bar crawl sold 5,000 tickets and was sponsored by nonprofit that’s not really a nonprofit. He said that the outcome of that bar crawl was “mayhem” and asked the Board for help to prevent it in the future. Executive Secretary Michelle Bailey-Hedgepeth responded that the agency believes that they need additional state legislation to be able to do anything about bar crawls. Mr. Jamrosz suggested that community members be allowed to protest the issuance of a special event license, under Rule 1.10.

Chairman Benjamin Neil closed the hearings by saying that the last time the rules were updated was 1998. “We’re doing the very best we can,” he said. Neil said that there will be community outreach meetings next year, throughout the different sections of the City. He concluded, “we hear you, we’re here, we’re listening. You may not think we are but we are.”

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