Late-night restaurant vote may be postponed

November 13, 1995|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,SUN STAFF

The Annapolis city council is scheduled to decide tonight whether to allow more late-night bars in the historic district, but some officials say the vote may be postponed indefinitely.

"The last I heard it was up in the air," said Alderman Shep Tullier, a Ward 4 Democrat. "I think it's going to be up to the mayor, and no one knows what the mayor's going to do."

Another city source said that, as of late last week, Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins was considering postponing the vote on the two bills.

Efforts to reach Mr. Hopkins were unsuccessful. Even though he co-sponsored one of the bills, he has said he is still deliberating and might vote against both measures.

The issue of whether to allow more clubs and restaurants with 2 a.m. closing times in downtown Annapolis has divided the council.

Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat, sponsored a bill that would allow restaurants with midnight closings to receive zoning permits for 2 a.m. closing times without additional permits or public hearings. He said he would amend his measure to ensure that it applies only to two restaurants he believes have been unfairly denied 2 a.m. closing times: Buddy's Crabs & Ribs and Maria's Sicilian Ristorante and Cafe.

The other bill, sponsored by Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, a Ward 8 Democrat, would allow all downtown restaurants to stay open until 2 a.m. after the businesses submit to public hearings for permits.

In other matters, the council is scheduled to vote on legislation to allow sidewalk cafes on a permanent basis downtown.

Downtown restaurant owners began getting licensed Sept. 12 for temporary cafes, which will be allowed downtown until Dec. 15.

Under the temporary legislation, restaurant owners need only fill out an application, pay a $300 fee and sign an agreement that holds the city harmless for any damage sustained on the side walk.

The majority of aldermen support the concept of sidewalk cafes, but are split on how tightly the council should regulate them.

Democratic Alderman Louise Hammond of Ward 1 supports council reviews of each cafe application and has sponsored a bill with greater restrictions on the size and operation of the cafes.

Ms. Moyer's bill sets fewer restrictions. The measure would require restaurateurs to get a liquor license and submit an application, but would allow them to open outdoor cafes without a public hearing or city council approval.

The council meets at 7 p.m. today at City Hall.

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