License board OKs restaurant's plan for outside decks

January 19, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

The Howard County Board of License Commissioners has approved a plan by a restaurant in the Main Street district of Ellicott City to add two outside decks, but with limited hours and other conditions for one of them.

The board, which also sits as the County Council, voted 4-1 to grant Mill Towne Tavern permission to build a 288-square-foot deck on the rear of the building and a 75-square-foot deck to the front.

Board member Dennis R. Schrader was the lone dissenter, arguing that activity on the rear deck would be a nuisance to nearby residents.

"Ellicott City is a mix of old residential and new commercial," he said. "This is an impact issue. In my judgment, it was going to negatively impact [residents]."

According to the board's decision and order released last week, Peter G. Ruff, president of Sunshine Group Inc., which owns Mill Towne Tavern, told the panel that the front deck would be an area for customers waiting for tables.

Controversy centered on the rear deck, where Ruff told the board he planned to have about 10 tables for full-service dining. Though he said the area would be lighted by lanterns, feature soft dinner music and close about 11 p.m., that was not enough for some local residents.

Ruff told the board that the decks are necessary because patrons wait as long as 90 minutes for a table, but no area is set aside for waiting.

Delores Gaudry, who lives next to the restaurant, said the rear deck would be too noisy.

She told the board that if it did decide to approve the rear deck, she wanted several restrictions -- no exterior sound, no parties and a 10 p.m. curfew.

In approving the plan, board Chairwoman Mary C. Lorsung and members C. Vernon Gray, Charles C. Feaga and Darrel E. Drown agreed with Ruff -- calling the expansion necessary to accommodate those waiting for tables. But Ruff was told the restaurant must abide by Gaudry's suggested restrictions.

Keith Curtiss, a co-owner of Mill Towne Tavern, said he had no objection to the conditions.

"It's not really a focus or high priority," he said of the decks. "They're going to be an added perk."

Pub Date: 1/19/98

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