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Patio and outdoor bar planned for Looney's Pub in Bel Air

Bel Air Board of Appeals will take up Looney's Pub case in February

The owners of Looney's Pub in Bel Air are seeking town approval to build a patio and outdoor bar along the South Main Street side of the establishment, an effort to boost the number of summertime patrons.

They will have to wait at least a month on that approval, though, as the Board of Appeals hearing scheduled for Tuesday was postponed to next month because not enough board members could attend Tuesday.

Looney's, which has been part of downtown Bel Air's bar and restaurant scene since 2002, stays "consistently busy" from September to May, but June, July and August are slower, especially on the weekends, as people spend their free time on outdoor recreation or at family gatherings, according to co-owner Bill Larney.

"Summer is vacation time, and people want to be outside," Larney wrote in an email Tuesday evening. "I get it, so do I."

The project must be approved through the appeals board, since it includes a bar; the patio is a permitted use, though, according to Larney. A hearing on Looney's request for a special exception was scheduled before the board Tuesday evening at Bel Air Town Hall.

The meeting was postponed, though, according to a notice posted on the front door of Town Hall. The request will be scheduled for the appeals board's next meeting in February.

Only two of the five appeals board members could make it to Tuesday's hearing, according to Larney.

"Hopefully we can have a decision at the meeting in February," he stated.

Looney's is in the Main Street Centre shopping center at South Main Street and Fulford Avenue. The 2,000 square-foot patio will be built along the South Main side, which is a parking lot.

Six side parking spaces will be lost, but eight spaces will be gained in front of the patio. Motorcycle riders typically park on the side during the summer, and they will be able to park in front of the patio in the new spots, according to Larney.

The patio will include materials such as stone, brick and stamped concrete. Larney said the bar is necessary "because of the major expense of construction, and [we] need this to be an everyday use to justify the investment."

He said it also means Looney's could keep its 125-person workforce intact through the summer without having to cut employees' hours or lay off some workers.

"We would like to be able to be open obviously this year for the warmer months," Larney stated in his email.

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