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Community reaches deal with Westview bar where man was killed

Ganiyu Raji, president of the Westview Park Improvement & Civic Association, addressed the Baltimore County liquor board at a hearing Monday in Towson.
Ganiyu Raji, president of the Westview Park Improvement & Civic Association, addressed the Baltimore County liquor board at a hearing Monday in Towson. (Staff photo by Lauren Loricchio, Baltimore Sun Media Group)

A September shooting that left a man dead in front of B.J. Mallard's Tavern on Ingleside Avenue in Westview prompted community representatives to speak out Monday at a Baltimore County Liquor License Commission hearing against the transfer of a Class D liquor license to the bar's new owner.

At the hearing in Towson, representatives of the Westview Park Improvement & Civic Association and the West Catonsville Manor Community Association complained of noise and loitering as well as drug and crime activity outside of the bar.

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It was the recent homicide, however, that prompted people to attend the hearing, they said.

"We want to see the bar shut down," Gary Honaker, 59, treasurer of the West Catonsville Manor Community Association, said before the hearing. "If not shut down, I'd like to see them put cameras up — it would keep loitering down."

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Charles Klein, chairman of the board, told residents they would have the opportunity to protest at license renewal hearings.

"I have the feeling a lot of what you're going to say would be more appropriate for that type of a hearing," Klein said, addressing a crowded room. "Hopefully everyone will leave here better off."

Woodlawn Precinct community liaison Officer Brenda Binns Clarke testified there were reports of drug and crime activity outside of the establishment; those reports, however, were not of activity inside the bar.

According to a Baltimore County Police report listing calls for service at B.J. Mallard's, there were two first-degree assaults, four second-degree assaults and 23 disturbance calls between Jan. 1, 2013 and Oct. 1, 2014.

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An investigation showed the recent homicide was not connected to the bar, Binns Clarke said.

Ganiyu Raji, president of the Westview Park Improvement & Civic Association, said there are many establishments that serve liquor in the area, but B.J. Mallard's is the only one they have issues with.

Raji said: "I've lived in that area for 22 years. The only one that we have headaches on is B.J. Mallard's."

"We're not opposed to a liquor facility...we just want responsible management of whatever is in the area," he told the commission.

Binns Clarke offered to work with the new owners to ensure the safety of the surrounding community.

Margaret Stokes, legislative aide to 1st District Councilman Tom Quirk, who represents the area, said increased lighting and security cameras may deter unwanted activity.

The hearing resulted in a comprise between community members and new owner, Nanjit Sandhu, of Perry Hall.

The new owner agreed to add security cameras to the building, a designated smoking area and lighting to the outside of the building, a stipulation of the license transfer. He will also add "no loitering signs" and security personnel.

T.J. Sandu said the new ownership expects to take over the business by Nov. 15.

Stokes said she was pleased that residents were able to reach a compromise with the new owner.

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