www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-county/towson/ph-tt-towson-lanes-1114-20121108,0,3647740.story

baltimoresun.com

Liquor service hours a sticking point for Towson lanes, neighbors

Bowling alley officials, community association meet to discuss license request

By Jon Meoli, jmeoli@tribune.com

3:59 PM EST, November 8, 2012

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Representatives for the Campus Hills Community Association and AMF Towson Lanes knocked down a handful of pins Thursday in negotiating terms to the bowling alley's proposed liquor license, but one major issue stands in the way of a compromise being reached.

Both sides left a 90-minute meeting at County Councilman David Marks' office in Towson on Nov. 8 with the issue of the bowling alley's hours unresolved.

"The community is asking for them to cut off liquor sales before AMF would like," said Paul Hartman, vice president of the Greater Towson Council of Community Associations. "It really turned out that the hours are a sticking point."

Last month the county's Board of Liquor License Commissioners heard a request from the Southwick Drive bowling alley for a license, but tabled the matter when neighbors presented spirited opposition. The board recommended both sides get together to try and hash out concerns.

Attorney Doug Meister, who is representing the AMF Towson Lanes in its liquor board case, said local management would have to get any changes to the alley's hours of operations cleared through the company's corporate office.

On weekends, the alley would close at 1 a.m., and under AMF's proposal, management would make a last call 30 minutes before closing.

Andrea Otis, a board member of the Campus Hills Community Association, said they want last call to be moved up to midnight, which she said was already a concession made by the neighborhood in order to facilitate a solution.

Additionally, given the bowling alley's proximity to Cromwell Valley Elementary, residents hoped the alley would not begin alcohol sales until after school is dismissed during the week, giving buses and walking students time to clear the area.

Meister said that aside from the hours, many of the other tenets to an agreement were close.

At the lengthy liquor board hearing on Oct. 22, residents complained of litter, loitering and loud crowds gathering in alley's parking lot. Currently, the alley allows its league bowlers to bring alcohol to league play, but if a license is granted, no outside food or beverages would be permitted.

Other concessions that AMF made during the Nov. 8 meeting included commitments to add more outdoor trash cans, more surveillance cameras in the parking lot with additional monitors inside the alley, and increased "No Loitering" signs.

When the hearing was suspended last month, commission Chairman Charles Klein said closing arguments would be resumed at a later session — should an agreement be reached in the interim. The case is back on the liquor board docket for 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 19.