O.C. police cite landlord for disorderly house

June 22, 1991|By Roger Twigg

Ocean City police have cited the owner and manager of an apartment complex for failing to control noise by youthful residents celebrating Seniors Week.

The citations are the first of their kind under a stepped-up police effort to control noise by Junebugs, new high school graduates who descend on the resort city each June for sun, ocean and fun.

Residents have long complained that many of the young revelers who take part in the three-week rite called Seniors Week are rowdy and noisy and consume alcohol illegally.

Last year, police increased enforcement of the city's noise ordinance, making arrests for the first time. Hundreds of alleged young violators were jailed.

But when the arrests failed to quiet noisy youths -- 418 young people have been charged with violating the ordinance this season, up about 65 percent from last year -- police turned to charging the operators and owners of Ocean City motels and apartments with operating a disorderly house if they did not control noise at their businesses, said Sgt. Jay Hancock, a police spokesman.

Last Monday, after the Edgewater Neighborhood Watch filed a complaint against the Hitch Apartments at Fifth Street and St. Louis Avenue, police served a criminal summons on the resident manager, Marie Ada Crown, 61, charging her under a state law with maintaining a disorderly house.

They issued a similar summons for the owner, Robert Joel Pomeranz, 39, of Bethesda. That summons has not been served because he is out of town.

If found guilty of the misdemeanor charge, each could be fined $300 and sentenced to six months in jail.

"This is a new approach for us," Sergeant Hancock said.

"We are responding to the concerns of a neighborhood watch group. We obtained the summons after it appeared that management was not going to take any steps whatsoever to stop what goes on there," he said.

Since Memorial Day weekend, police have recorded 25 incidents of excessive noise, drinking by minors and fighting at the complex, which has more than 45 units. Twelve people have been arrested.

"I think it's unfair," Miss Crown said. "All my friends manage buildings, and they are having the same problems."

"We have 300 kids, 17 to 19 years old, staying here. You're going to have some noise when you have that many kids together," she said. "I try to keep it down. I'm doing all in my power. I don't allow them to hang on the terraces, and they aren't allowed any visitors."

Despite those efforts, the noise upsets some of the complex's older residents, she said.

"These people should realize it's not all summer," she said. "They should be able to tolerate it for three weeks."

Guy R. Ayres, an attorney, said the neighborhood watch group has approached him about taking possible civil action against Miss Crown and Mr. Pomeranz.

"They've been putting up with loud parties until the wee hours of the morning with some fights and destruction of property," Mr. Ayres said. "In their minds, it's like a war zone."

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