Bay Cafe, neighbors told to make up Statement of conduct ordered by the liquor board

July 12, 1996|By Brenda J. Buote | Brenda J. Buote,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore liquor board yesterday ordered the owner of a Canton tavern and residents of the surrounding waterfront community to negotiate a peace treaty.

The parties, who have been warring for more than six years, were ordered to draft a statement of conduct for the daily operation of the Bay Cafe.

"Canton residents and owners of the Bay Cafe must set a date to meet amicably," Chairman George G. Brown said, announcing the board's decision. "The statement of conduct is to be submitted to the board by Aug. 15."

Both David Naumann, owner of the popular Boston Street bar, and residents of the upscale Canton community -- home to many young professionals and empty-nesters -- said they were satisfied with the board's decision.

"I'm happy with the decision," Naumann said. "I think myself and the community need to get together. Hopefully this will be the first step in that direction."

"Our goal is not, and has never been, to put the Bay Cafe out of business," said Gwen Davidson, a member of the Canton Square Homeowners Association -- the group that pushed for yesterday's hearing. "We just want the Bay Cafe to be a better neighbor."

Last month, a group of residents filed a complaint with the Board of Liquor License Commissioners, alleging that the 7-year-old Bay Cafe, which has been fined twice in the past two years for selling alcohol to minors, encourages unruly behavior on Sunday nights.

Neighbors of the tavern claim that Bay Cafe patrons, after leaving the bar, destroy property, litter, urinate and vomit on sidewalks. They also contend that the high volume of patrons at the cafe, which has a licensed indoor capacity of 250 people and an outdoor deck that can hold several hundred additional customers, causes parking problems in the area.

The Bay Cafe on Boston Street is a few feet from the Canton Square community of 133 townhouses.

"We have a 600-pound gorilla on our doorstep," said Jerome Bird, a Canton resident and member of the homeowners association. "Our goal is to make the gorilla behave."

In their complaint, the residents sought limits on hours the Bay Cafe can serve alcohol on Sundays; permit parking for patrons who wish to park in Canton Square; sobriety checks in the neighborhood; and security officers to monitor the neighborhood.

In handing down its decision, the board strongly advised the Bay Cafe to consider adopting several of the community's requests in its statement of conduct, including the installation of permanent bathroom facilities and adequate neighborhood security.

The board also encouraged the Bay Cafe to stop serving free, or nominally priced, food to encourage the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Naumann said he has already taken measures to address some of the community's concerns and better handle the Sunday crowds of more than 500.

The Bay Cafe, he said, is installing 10 additional bathroom facilities and has hired the Trident Group, a private security company of off-duty, uniformed Baltimore police officers, to patrol the premises and nearby community.

"We have done more than what is required of us," Naumann said, claiming the security officers patrol an area about 250 feet outside the Bay Cafe's premises. By law, tavern owners are required to monitor the activities of their patrons within a 50-foot radius.

Pub Date: 7/12/96

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