The Baltimore County Board of Liquor Commissioners ruled against changing the liquor license at what was formerly Renee's Lounge and Restaurant in Lansdowne from a class B to a class D following the testimony of several community members July 25.
After deliberating for only a few minutes Monday afternoon, the three board members came back and chairman Charles Klein announced they had come to a split decision.
Klein announced that he abstained from voting and the other two members had opposing votes, therefore the reclassification was denied.
"I'm a little upset at the fact that (the board) wouldn't give us a chance to prove ourselves," said Lansdowne resident Rebecca Salgado, manager of the establishment. "We would have hired security, we would have had cameras."
A class B license is for an establishment that makes most of its money from the sale of food, according to a spokeswoman from the Board of Liquor License Commissioners for Baltimore County.
A class D license is for bars and taverns and states that minors must leave the premises by 9 p.m., the spokeswoman said.
The ruling comes after the board postponed making a decision a month ago, when the bar at 3911 Hollins Ferry Road first appeared before it.
During the June 27 hearing, a board member said nearly 50 incidents requiring police attention took place at the establishment from 2006 to 2009.
The bar hasn't been open since December.
The board couldn't make a ruling at the first hearing due to a clerical error and because it didn't advertise the hearing properly.
Without such advertising, those supporting or opposing the bar's application to reclassify its liquor license would not have known about the hearing.
During this week's hearing, several community members spoke against the reclassification.
No one from the community spoke for the change.
"The problem there is not just the bar; the problem is that whole shopping center," said Chris Koloski, the second vice president of the Lansdowne Improvement Association. "Unfortunately where (the bar is) located is directly in the middle of our high-crime area, our big problem area."
"I don't care if the pope himself came in and bought Renee's," Koloski said. "They can try as hard as they want. But like we said before, if they ran a tight ship at Renee's, (the problems) move two doors down to the nail salon."
Theresa Lowry, a member of the Southwest Leadership Team, agreed.
"The sad part of it is it's not just Renee's, it's not the new ownership, it's the shopping center," Lowry said. "It's a blight in the middle of a blight."
William Yang, a Howard County resident, has owned Renee's Lounge and Restaurant for the past year and said his establishment never had problems other than the incidents that happened in the shopping center.
He said he is attempting to sell the establishment. But the buyers' group may not purchase it now that its liquor license remains a class B.
Despite hiring a professional kitchen staff and offering quality food, Yang said "it's almost impossible" for the area to support a restaurant at that location.