Board rejects challenge to liquor license for city bar

Petition ruled invalid

repairs, cleanup ordered

April 27, 1999|By Amy Oakes | Amy Oakes,SUN STAFF

The state's Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore City dismissed a challenge to the liquor license renewal of a Canton pub yesterday, defusing a two-year bar feud between Ocean View Inn and its neighbors.

Ruling that the community's petition was invalid because it was only a list of names and failed to note specific problems, the liquor board renewed the establishment's license but ordered improvements. This was the fourth time bar owners Cesar D. Deguzman and Marcela Southerland have been before the liquor board.

After hearing complaints and explanations yesterday, liquor board commissioners ordered owners of the bar in the 2400 block of Fleet St. to fix their front door and clean up trash outside the establishment.

"Hopefully, these things will stay in place until the property is sold," said Commissioner William A. Welch Jr.

Ray Southerland, who runs the bar, said he might take the "for sale" sign out of the front window, because commissioners informed him he could bring back karaoke. "I'm going to think about it," Southerland said. "Karaoke brings in more business."

Representing residents, Canton-Highlandtown Community Association President Stephany Palasik said she is skeptical about whether the barkeepers will follow through because their failure to comply with earlier orders has kept neighbors complaining.

Friction between some residents and the owners began not long after Ocean View Inn opened in 1996.

According to state liquor board records, residents have complained about the bar playing loud music, patrons disturbing the neighborhood's peace and illegal transactions taking place inside the bar.

Southerland has countered that only a few residents complain and make it difficult to keep his bar open. "I think it's personal," he said.

Beyond question, though, is the bar's record with the liquor board. Deguzman and the Southerlands were cited last year -- once in February for allowing solicitation for prostitution and twice, in February and June, for selling to minors.

Community representatives presented an 18-signature petition yesterday against the bar with a letter from the block leader, Florence Chenowith.

A valid petition must be signed by 10 or more property owners or residents and state the nature of the complaint.

Pub Date: 4/27/99

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