Liquor board denies pier project a license

March 24, 1995|By Joan Jacobson | Joan Jacobson,Sun Staff Writer

Plans to build a large restaurant-bar -- complete with palm trees and an artificial beach -- on an abandoned industrial pier in Canton were killed yesterday by the city liquor board.

After nearby businesses and city officials objected to the proposed waterfront restaurant-bar, the board rejected the request for a liquor license by a 2-1 vote. The board noted that the area is designated for industry.

The proposal is one of several tropical-style restaurant-bars being debated in the historic Fells Point and Canton neighborhoods.

The board's action followed more than four hours of testimony by owners of industrial companies, community leaders, 1st District City Councilman John L. Cain, police and planning officials -- all nTC opposing the 288-seat business.

Developer Mark Denhard wanted to build the restaurant at 1820 S. Clinton St. on a 420-foot pier owned by businessman Edwin Hale, whose Hale Intermodal Transport Co. is across the street. Mr. Hale planned to rent the pier for $50,000 a year.

Several employees of Mr. Hale's company testified that they would welcome the restaurant. And Mr. Denhard's lawyer, Melvin Kodenski, presented petitions with 236 signatures favoring the business -- most coming from Mr. Hale's employees.

But representatives from eight other companies along the dusty street testified against the plans.

"I'm concerned about the amount of truck traffic on Clinton Street. We don't need to add alcohol to that formula," said George F. Nixon Jr., executive vice president of Rukert Terminals Corp.

He said he feared the restaurant-bar would set a precedent and eventually push businesses like his -- one that unloads ships -- out of the Canton neighborhood.

The board also denied an outdoor liquor license for Bohager's Bar and Grill at 515 S. Eden St.

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