Baltimore County officials have ordered a Parkville-area roller-skating rink to cancel an Aug. 16 club-themed event after complaints about crowds of teenagers disturbing residents and businesses as they leave the rink at closing time.
This week, the county Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections sent a letter to Skateland Putty Hill on Belair Road saying the business operated in a way that produces "excessive noise, traffic congestion, vandalism" and other activities creating a public nuisance.
The county said it would not renew Skateland's amusement-hall license, which expired in March and allows for live or recorded entertainment. The business still has a license to operate as a skating rink.
No one returned phone messages left at the rink Thursday seeking comment. The business can contest the decision not to renew the amusement-hall license, according to the county letter.
Last weekend, police received multiple complaints about hundreds of teens walking south on Belair Road after Skateland closed at 11 p.m. Saturday, according to Cpl. Cathy Batton, spokeswoman for the county Police Department. One person threw a brick through the window of a police car, she said.
Police dispatched 25 cars and a helicopter to direct crowds of pedestrians leaving the rink down Belair Road, Batton said.
She said traffic safety is an issue because of large groups of pedestrians leaving the rink when it closes, and added that a "small segment" of the teens engage in disorderly or criminal behavior. Since the beginning of July, police have arrested five juveniles on disorderly conduct charges. Other nearby businesses that are open late have complained that they have to lock their doors when crowds leave Skateland on Saturday nights, she said.
"We are concerned about the resources that we are devoting to managing the situation on Saturday nights, as well as addressing the concerns that come from the surrounding community," Batton said. "We have seen a consistent problem every Saturday night since the beginning of July."
J.B. Osborne, senior legislative adviser for Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, said the Middle River Democrat, whose district includes Skateland, believes the county move is "a step in the right direction."
"Her goal is not to shut down the business," Osborne said. "Her goal is to let Skateland be a profitable business in her district, and she supports it, to the extent that they're not a detriment to other businesses in the area."
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