4 Canton bars keep licenses

City liquor board tells owners, residents to meet

April 27, 2001|By Allison Klein | Allison Klein,SUN STAFF

Baltimore's liquor board renewed the licenses yesterday of four of Canton's hottest nightspots after neighbors dropped their opposition.

Neighbors withdrew their petitions at a hearing, saying they would work with owners and the city to help curb noise, rowdiness and trash from the bars.

The Canton taverns -- Good Love, Gin Mill, Spot and Purple Pepper -- are in the 2200 and 2300 blocks of Boston St. in Southeast Baltimore, a commercial and residential strip that draws thousands of patrons in their 20s and 30s each weekend.

Members of the Anchorage Homeowners Association -- 40 homes across Boston Street -- submitted the petition challenging the bars, but said they withdrew it after meeting with bar owners this week and deciding it was a city problem as well as a bar problem.

For example, they said, trash cans aren't located in front of the bars.

"Canton has grown so quickly, the city hasn't been able to keep up," said Lester Reeder, co-owner of Gin Mill.

Nathan C. Irby Jr., executive secretary of the liquor board, said representatives from the Police and Public Works departments will attend meetings between the bar owners and homeowners.

"Now we have the ears of the liquor board," said Margaret Carvella, president of the Anchorage Homeowners Association. "We want trash cans, more police presence and bar owners to lower the noise."

Yesterday, the Board of Liquor License Commissioners approved nine licenses that were challenged by neighbors, telling several owners to meet with community groups to work out their problems.

Rite Aid at 3127-33 Greenmount Ave. was handed a 45-day suspension for failing to follow a contract owners and community leaders signed in 1996. Violations of the agreement included advertising beer on top of a candy display.

The city's 1,606 liquor licenses expire Monday and must be renewed each year. The annual fee is between $55 and $10,000. Neighborhoods opposing a renewal must submit a petition with at least 10 signatures to the liquor board, which holds a hearing.

This year, 18 petitions were filed from various city neighborhoods challenging renewals. All but Rite Aid's were granted during hearings this month.

Canton's problems are the same issues other gentrifying neighborhoods in the city have worked out, said Samuel T. Daniels Jr., the liquor board's chief inspector.

"This is something that went on in Fells Point two or three years ago until finally they realized their gentrification has to deal with what's already there," Daniels said. "We're going to keep having a problem until people learn to live with what they've chosen."

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