Locust Wines sues for use of alley Neighbor blocked access last year CENTRAL--Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg


The owner of a Westminster wine and spirits shop filed a lawsuit last week against parties he says have blocked a public right of way to his property.

Brady O. Bryson, the owner of Locust Wines at 10 E. Main St., said in the suit filed by lawyer David C. Hjortsberg that when the owners of the building at 6 E. Main St. blocked the 16-foot alley running beside their building in March 1992, they cut off access to the wine shop from Main Street.

Mr. Bryson and his company, Locust Wines Ltd., named six parties as defendants. Allegations are directed mainly toward Robert H. Lennon and David B. Weisberger, who are partners in Six East Main Partnership.

The partnership owns the property at 6 E. Main St., which includes a building and the alleyway.

Although a driveway extending south from Main Street provides access to the store, the suit alleges that Locust Wines also should have use of the alley running across the partnership's property.

The alley was a common driveway to the property on which the shop sits that was "exclusive and uninterrupted for more that 20 years," the lawsuit alleges.

"These ways, alleys and easements are for the benefit of the Locust Wines property for providing access to and from Main Street for pickups and deliveries, by customers, suppliers, [and] tradesman," the suit says.

Mr. Bryson had protested the barriers when they were erected across the partnership's south boundary line and, in June 1992, he met with the Westminster City Council and City Attorney John B. Walsh Jr. to discuss the dispute.

"The Mayor and Common Council of Westminster refused to take action to remove the barriers and permit the use" of the alley, the suit alleges.

The suit also claims that Mr. Lennon, who represented Mr. Bryson when he bought the Locust Wine property, failed to tell Mr. Bryson that the property could lose use of the alley, which he felt was a major selling point of the property.

Mr. Lennon told Mr. Bryson it was unnecessary to put a clause in the proposed contract of sale that would have made the sale contingent on having full access to the property, which included the two entrances from Main Street, the suit alleges.

Mr. Bryson also is suing the county commissioners, who are responsible for the land on which the public library sits, and the mayor and City Council of Westminster, who are "charged with the responsibility of keeping open the public ways of the City."

The last of the defendants is the Rev. William H. Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore, because the Roman Catholic Church owns the cemetery land adjacent to Locust Wines.

The suit alleges that everyone who owns or oversees the usage of land adjoining the Locust Wine property are named in the suit "by reason of historical use, ownership, and association of the properties and owners to each other."

The Locust Wines property is bordered on the south by Green Street, on the north by the public library and property of the Western Maryland Railway, on the west by the railroad tracks, and on the east by the Catholic cemetery.

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