The county liquor board renewed the Londontowne Pub's license Tuesday despite neighbors' complaints of excessive noise, parking lot brawls and patrons urinating in their yards.
The license renewal came with a stern warning and a number of restrictions.
"If you can't clean that place up and if you can't control the crowd, this board will do it for you," said Thomas Riggin, chairman of the Board of Liquor License Commissioners. If problems continue, "you're not going to be around."
Thirty to 40 neighbors protested the license renewal, citing a litany of complaints dating back before thecurrent licensees, Michael and Susan Paddy, bought the tavern four years ago.
"We have lived through hell for the last 15 years," saidPatricia Sandick of Shore Drive, who live near the tavern at the endof Londontowne Road. The Sandicks have had their fence knocked over -- presumably by tavern patrons -- at least 32 times, she said.
"My husband and I can't even go out on the porch without obscenities hollered at us, and we've also seen the urinating," Sandick said. "Theywave at us while they're doing it and say, 'Why don't you take a picture? It'll last longer.' "
In just 1 1/2 months in their new homeon Oak Bluff Road, David and Suzanne King said they have seen pub customers arguing, vomiting and urinating. They won't let their 8-year-old son walk to the bus stop because they are afraid for him to walk past the tavern.
"Customers seem to go there with one purpose in mind: to drink and get drunk," Suzanne King said.
"It's the caliberof the people that visit the pub" that neighbors object to, said Christopher Cord of Bishop Road just before Tuesday's hearing. "Low-lifes" was how he described them.
About 20 supporters of the pub appeared before the board to defend their image.
"I don't particularly find myself being a sleazy person," said Ginger Brooks of Havre de Grace Road. Others said they go to the pub with their children to eat pizza, play darts and video games and enjoy a beer.
"The problems of the Londontowne Pub are common to the Londontowne peninsula," one supporter said. "It's a local pub, and it does reflect the local community."
Under the restrictions imposed by the board:
* The Paddys must place railroad ties around the edge of parking lot to create asingle entrance and exit. Neighbors complain that cars tear in and out of the large lot.
* The county will be asked to install curbingand 'no parking' signs on Oak Bluff Road.
* The Paddys and a committee of pub supporters must meet regularly with neighbors to discussproblems. The first meeting must take place within 30 days, after which a report will be made to the board. Subsequent reports to the board will be made every 60 days.
* The county liquor inspector will check for problems on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for the next three months.
Inspector Van Lee said he's been checking Londontowne Pub every weekend for the last two months, but did not observe any major problems.
Michael Paddy testified that he has made improvementssince taking over the tavern, including hiring two security guards to monitor the parking lot, installing more exterior lighting and sprucing up the building's exterior.
Neighbors agreed the tavern looksbetter but said the noise and harassment has not lessened under the Paddys. The pub's license was suspended for seven days in 1989 after police reported drug-related arrests in the parking lot.
"If Mr. Paddy doesn't take control of his business, we are going to have some very serious problems in this community this summer," predicted Maryellen Brady, president of the Londontowne Property Owners Association."The anger and frustration has reached a breaking point."