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Charles County, Maryland

Minutes

Minutes
Thursday, February 8, 2018

 

            The following members of the Board were present at the County Commissioners’ Meeting Room, Charles County Government Building, for a regular hearing of the Board of License Commissioners:  Thomasina Coates, Chairman, Guy N. Black, Vice Chairman, and Kathleen Quade.  Also appearing in support of the Board were M/Cpl. Judith Thompson, Alcohol Enforcement Coordinator; Alcohol Enforcement Inspector Wayne Magoon; Associate County Attorney Jessica Andritz; and Lisa Bailey, Clerk/Recording Secretary. 

 

            1.         Following a question and answer period as to the nature and specifics of each event, and upon a motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, the Board approved the following temporary alcoholic beverage license applications, as presented:

Indian Head Center for the Arts, by:  Evie Hungerford, BOD Chair, appearing on behalf of applicant is Lynne O’Meara, BOD Member, for a 1-day temporary alcoholic beverage license to sell/serve Beer, Wine & Liquor, inside the Theatre from 6-11 PM on the following 9 dates, for fundraisers, with 60-80 people expected to attend each event:  February 16, 17, 23, 24, March 23, 24, 25 (2:30 – 6 pm), 30, and 31(2:30-11 pm). 

College of Southern Maryland, by:  Shaunda Holt, for a 1-day temporary alcoholic beverage license to sell/serve Beer, Wine & Liquor, inside Custom Kitchens and Baths from 6-9 PM on the following 3 dates, with 14 people expected to attend each class:  February 15, 22, March 15.

Charles County Chamber of Commerce, by:  Betsy Burian, Exec. Director.  Appearing on behalf of the applicant was Dee Hancock, for two (2) 1-day temporary alcoholic beverage license to sell/serve Beer, Wine & Liquor, inside the Indian Head Pavilion on March 1, and inside Grace Lutheran Church & School on April 5, 2018, each event from 5:30-7:30 PM, for their monthly networking mixers, with approximately 100 people expected to attend.

Grace Lutheran Church & School, by:  Rebecca Lee Hoffman, for a 1-day temporary alcoholic beverage license to sell/serve Beer & Wine, inside GLCS Family Life Center on March 3, 2018, from 6-11 PM for their 10th Annual wine & Cheese Social and Silent Auction, a fundraiser with approximately 350 people expected to attend.

301 Derby Dames, By:  Amanda Foster.  Appearing on behalf of the applicant was Katherine Edwards, for nine (9) 1-day temporary alcoholic beverage license to sell/serve Beer, Wine & Liquor, inside a building at the Charles County Fairgrounds, from 4-9 P.M. on the following dates for sporting events with approximately 250 people expected to attend each event:  Feb. 17, April 7, May 5, June 16, July 28, Aug. 25, Oct. 6 & 27, and  Nov. 17.

 

            2.         Richard L. Shields, Aqualand Marina Operations, LLC, t/a AMO Ship Store, 9610 Orland Park Road, Newburg, Maryland, 20664, appeared for a transfer/substitution of officer of the Class D – Beer & Wine (on and off sale) alcoholic beverage license from George Kenneth Hayden, Jr., Aqualand Marina Operations LLC, t/a AMO Ships Store, 9700 Orland Park Rd., Newburg, Maryland 20664.  Counsel to the applicant was John F. Mudd, Esquire.  Testimony was presented by applicant Richard L. Shields pertaining to the facts contained in the application which evidences, among other things, that Mr. Shields replaces George Kenneth Hayden, Jr., as the authorized person, holding a 20% interest in Aqualand marina Operations, LLC.  The remaining 80% interest will continue to be held by BRC, LLC.  Mr. Shields testified, among other things, that he is a United States citizen, registered voter and property owner, and has lived in Charles County for more than 2 years.  He has applied for this transfer with the landlord’s consent; that the property continues to be zoned commercial, and is not within 1,000 from a church or school.  Mr. Shields anticipates that he will continue to operate the business as a ‘ships store’ and will not allow vertical ID’s.  He will only employ servers/clerks who are certified by an approved alcohol management course.  Their winter hours are 9 AM to 5 PM, Wednesday through Sunday.  Their summer hours will be 7 AM to 7 PM – 7 days per week.  Mr. Shields is aware of the previous violation which will continue as a prior offense.  Mr. Shields was cautioned by the Board members as to his responsibilities as a license holder. 

            Upon consideration of the testimony and evidence presented, with no opposition from those in attendance, and upon a motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, the Board moved to approve the transfer as presented, contingent upon satisfaction of all outstanding Maryland Sales & Use Tax and payment of the appropriate transfer fee. 

 

            3.         Joan C. Curley, William Daniel Mayer, James Leroy Dement, Swan Point Recreation, LLC, t/a Swan Point Yacht & Country Club, 11550 Swan Point Blvd., Issue, Maryland 20645 for a substitution of officer on their Class B/BLX (Luxury Restaurant) Beer, Wine & Liquor (on sale only) alcoholic beverage license from Richard J. Dengler, William Daniel Mayer, James Leroy Dement, Swan Point Recreation, LLC, t/a Swan Point Yacht & Country Club, 11550 Swan Point Blvd., Issue, Maryland  20645.  Counsel to the applicant was Sue A. Greer, Esquire.  Appearing in support of the application was Joan C. Curley, Dottie Harper, and James Leroy Dement.  Testimony was presented by applicant Joan C. Curley pertaining to the facts contained in the application which evidences, among other things, that Ms. Curley will replace Richard J. Dengler as an authorized person on the alcoholic beverage license, that she is a United States citizen, registered voter, and resident of Charles County for 19 years.  Ms. Curley has been employed by Swan Point Country Club for 19 years, and currently holds the position of Controller.  She will be involved in the day-to-day operation of the licensed premises and is familiar with the procedures for serving alcoholic beverages.  Ms. Curley further testified that all employees will or have received alcohol training, that she is familiar with vertical ID’s, and that they have a No Vertical ID policy with the poster prominently displayed.  The applicant did not testify as to any substantial change to the operation of the business. 

            Upon consideration of the testimony and evidence presented, with no opposition from those in attendance, and upon a motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, the Board moved to approve the transfer as presented, upon payment of the appropriate transfer fee. 

 

            4.         Robina Basharat, Mahreen Aujla, Realfriends Plaza, LLC, t/a A1 Plaza Liquors & Wines, 3215 Plaza Way, Waldorf, Maryland 20603, appeared for a transfer of the Class A – Beer, Wine & Liquor (off sale only) Package Goods alcoholic beverage license from Robina Basharat, Seven Brothers, Inc., t/a Plaza Liquors, 3215 Crain Hwy, Waldorf MD 20603.  Counsel to the applicant was David J. Martinez, Esq.  Testimony was presented by the applicants pertaining to the facts contained in the application which evidence, among other things, that Ms. Basharat will continue as the resident licensee, having 20 years of experience as the sole licensee of Seven Brothers, Inc.  Both Ms. Basharat and Ms. Aujla are authorized persons, with Ms. Basharat holding a 20% interest and Ms. Aujla holding a 65% interest in Realfriends Plaza, LLC.  The remaining 15% interest is held by Farkhanda Iqbal, who is not an authorized person.  The applicants intend to maintain the current operation of the business, and will continue with the employment of the current manager who has been there for 20 years.  The applicants further intend to continue with their alcohol management policies and procedures which have allowed them to successfully complete many compliance checks, without receiving a violation since 2005.  The Board members cautioned them to continue to provide full cooperation with alcohol enforcement and inspectors, maintain their strict policies regarding service of alcoholic beverages and, to be cautious of sales through the drive-in window.

            Upon consideration of the testimony and evidence presented, with no opposition from those in attendance, and upon a motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, the Board moved to approve the transfer as presented, contingent upon satisfaction of outstanding issues with the Comptroller, and payment of the appropriate transfer fee. 

 

            5.         Elliott Jay Baum, Aaron Louis Baum, Scott M. Farren, Capital Blue Ribbon Restaurants, LLC, t/a Famous Dave’s, 3046 Waldorf Marketplace, Waldorf, Maryland  20603, appeared for a transfer of the Class B/BLX  (Luxury Restaurant) Beer, Wine & Liquor (on sale only) alcoholic beverage license, including the defined previously utilized outside area, from John P. Beckman, James Terry Lenchner, Scott M. Farren, Famous Dave's Ribs of Maryland, Inc., t/a Famous Dave's, 3046 Waldorf Market Place, Waldorf, MD 20603.  Counsel to the applicant was Linda Carter, Esquire.  Testimony was presented by the applicants pertaining to the facts contained in the application which evidence, among other things, that this application for a transfer is resulting from the current owners ‘selling off’ virtually all company restaurants.  The applicants testified that alcoholic beverages are an accommodation to their food service and only represent 6% of their total sales.  Scott M. Farren will continue as a member manager/ authorized person, resident licensee, and holds a 20% interest in Capital Blue Ribbon Restaurants, LLC, along with Commonwealth Blue Ribbon Restaurants, LLC, who owns a 70% interest, and Frank Fenby Moore, who owns a 10% interest.  The other member managers/ authorized persons are Elliott Jay Baum and Aaron Louis Baum, who hold majority interest in Commonwealth Blue Ribbon Restaurants, LLC, by way of Elliott Baum Revocable Living Trust (92%).  The applicants intend to maintain the current operation of the business, and alcohol management policies and procedures which have allowed them to successfully complete many compliance checks, without receiving a violation over the past 18 years.  Also testifying in support of the application were witnesses Demetrius, the General Manager and Veto Van Main the Area Manager.  Further testimony was presented as to the previously utilized outside area, featuring 32 seats, and no outside music.  Upon a motion by Guy Black, seconded by Kathleen Quade and passing with an affirmative vote by Chairman Coates, the Board adjourned to closed session under General Provision Article §3-305(b)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice .  The Board reconvened at approximately 12:40 PM, citing discussion of rules governing open air exception areas.  After consultation with the Associate County Attorney, the Board grandfathered the prior use of the outside area, with no changes, without a separate hearing as if it were a new outside exception area defined in Rule 4.1.03 of the Board of License Commissioners Rules and Regulations.   

            Upon consideration of the testimony and evidence presented, with no opposition from those in attendance, and upon a motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, the Board moved to approve the transfer as presented, contingent upon satisfaction of outstanding issues with the Comptroller, and payment of the appropriate transfer fee. 

 

            6.         Show Cause in the Matter of the Class B/T (Tavern) – Beer, Wine & Liquor (on sale only) alcoholic beverage license issued to Yuk Chan Poon, Yeung Poon Luu, Sky Bar Corporation, t/a Sky Bar, 2290 Old Washington Rd., Waldorf, Maryland  20601.  Testimony and evidence was presented in the matter of the Charges and Show Cause Order dated January 24, 2017, alleging a violation of Alcoholic Beverages Article, § 6-304 of the Annotated Code of Maryland, in the above-captioned matter.  Licensees Yuk Chan Poon and Yeung Poon Luu appeared and acknowledged receipt of the show cause order at least 10 days prior to the hearing, and admitted to providing alcoholic beverages service to an Approved Underage Person on November 30, 2017, in violation of Alcoholic Beverages Article, § 6-304 of the Annotated Code of Maryland.  The server, Mereka Ann Harris, also appeared and acknowledged receipt of the show cause order at least ten days prior to the hearing and admitted to the violation.  The hearing was conducted in accordance with Rule 2.114, with the Board calling M/Cpl. Judith Thompson who testified as to the charges contained in the police report; the licensees and server each responded to questions posed by counsel, the Board members and staff. 

            Also testifying on behalf of the licensees was Lisa Henderson, who testified as to the day-to-day operation of the business, her position as manager, and her association and contractual position with the licensees, as the licensees and Ms. Henderson testified that Ms. Henderson has been under contract and running the business for them at least over the past year, with no compensation from them, and would eventually buy the business.  Ms. Henderson and the licensees offered further testimony in mitigation of any penalty the Board may be considering, including the circumstances of the sale, past successful compliance checks, and their current alcohol management training and policies. 

            Upon a motion by Kathleen Quade, seconded by Guy Black, and with all members voting in favor, the Board moved to adjourn to closed session at 1:25 P.M., in accordance with General Provisions Article, §3-305(b)(7) to consult with counsel to obtain legal advice.  The Board reconvened at 1:30 PM and disclosed the topic discussed during closed session were the laws pertaining to operation of business under current license.

            Upon consideration of the testimony and presented during the case, and upon a motion duly made, seconded, and unanimously carried, the Board found the licensee and server in violation of Section 6-304 of the Alcoholic Beverages Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland and as a result, it was hereby ordered, that the alcoholic beverage license issued to Yuk Chan Poon, Yeung Poon Luu, Sky Bar Corporation, t/a Sky Bar, 2290 Old Washington Road, Waldorf, Maryland  20601, be suspended for two days, with each held in abeyance for three years from the date of the hearing, contingent upon no further violations; and, it was further ordered, that the licensee be fined $1,000 and paid to the Board within 14 days of the date of this hearing; and it was further ordered, that the server, Mereka Ann Harris, be fined $50; made payable to the Charles County Treasurer and delivered to the Board of License Commissioners within 14 days of the date of the written Order.

 

            7.         Legislative Update:  At the request of Senator Thomas Mac Middleton, the Board reviewed a legislative proposal to amend Alcoholic Beverage Article, Section 18-1601, Ann. Code of MD, which was initiated by J. Steven Wise, Esq., and would require in Charles County, that the transferee of a Class D alcoholic beverage license have no more than 20% on-premises sales; and that the Board of License Commissioners may revoke or deny renewal of a certain license who is found not in compliance of said provision.  Upon discussion and consideration of the proposal, the Board opposed the legislative initiative, citing concerns and questions with regard to the vagueness of the proposal, reporting, administrative, and enforcement issues.  Further, the Board has always considered transfer applications on a case by case basis and there is no need to implement a percentage reporting requirement against any one class of license.  The Board instructed staff to prepare a letter to the Charles County Commissioners setting forth their opposition.  This proposal was introduced in the General Assembly as S.B. 884/H.B. 1258.  Once the Board shared their opposition, the bills were withdrawn in both the House and Senate.

            At the request of the alcohol enforcement officer, the Board reviewed H.B. 287/S.B. 461 - Selling or Providing Alcoholic Beverages to Individuals With Intellectual Disabilities and Others – Repeal of Prohibition.  At present in Charles County, it is a misdemeanor for a license holder (or a license holder's employee) to knowingly sell or provide alcohol to: (1) a habitual drunkard; (2) an individual with an intellectual disability; and (3) an individual if his/her family member or guardian has given written notice to the license holder and/or employee not to sell or provide alcohol to that individual based upon the individual's physical condition, intemperate habits, or unsound mind.  The proposed amendment would limit the scope of the misdemeanor to knowingly selling or providing alcohol to a habitual drunkard only.  All other classifications of persons would be deleted. 

            The Board determined that it had not been provided with enough context for the proposed legislation and it is unclear as to the scope of unintended consequences of the proposed amendment.  And, so, for those reasons, the Board, by unanimous vote, determined that it was unable to take a position on the legislation.

            At the request of the alcohol enforcement officer, the Board reviewed S.B. 577 – Alcoholic Beverages – Prohibited Acts – Defense to Prosecution for Sale to Underage Individuals which proposes to amend Section 6-306 of the Alcoholic Beverages Article.  In its present form, the legislation outlines certain facts that are consider as prima facie evidence of innocence and defense in a case involving an allegation that alcohol was sold to an under-age person.  One of the proposed amendments seeks to include as a "fact" that may be considered, namely, the license holder's reliance upon the results of an electronic device that verifies the identity of an individual by bar code (or other similar technology). 

            The Board determined that it is unclear as to why this language is being proposed and was concerned that this language might have the unintended consequence of enabling a culture of complacency, specifically, creating a tendency to rely upon a simple bar code scan rather than current internal business policies that require careful scrutiny of all information included on the government-issued photo ID.

            The Board has not been provided with enough context for the proposed legislation and is unclear as to the scope of unintended consequences of the proposed amendment.  And, so, for those reasons, the Board, by unanimous vote, determined that it is unable to take a position on the legislation. 

 

            8.         The Board of License Commissioners approved modifications to Rule 2.107 of their Rules and Regulations.  In particular, the first paragraph of the Rule has been amended (with the changes noted in italics) to read as follows:

Applications for a license, or the transfer or renewal thereof, shall be made upon standard printed forms obtainable at the office of the Board of License Commissioners, which shall not be altered by the applicant, except by handwritten notation.  The information requested thereon shall be filled in by the applicant or under his personal supervision and shall be typewritten so as to be clearly legible.  The completed application shall be signed and notarized under oath that the statements therein are true.  The completed application (including all documentation as outlined below, with the exception of items 12 and 13 only) shall be submitted to the Board and a review for legal sufficiency will be conducted within fifteen (15) days of receipt.  In the event that the application is deemed to be incomplete, the application together with the application fees will be returned to the applicant along with a statement as to why the application was deemed to be incomplete, subject to any exclusions or limitations by State law.  The applicant will be required to resubmit the application, which will need to be reviewed anew for legal sufficiency.  Public notice posters (as required under Rule 2.109) shall not be issued until the County Attorney's Office has confirmed that the application together with the required documentation has been reviewed for legal sufficiency and is, in fact, complete.  Furthermore, applications will not be placed on the Board's agenda unless the application package is deemed to be complete.  

 

            9.         The Board approved the 2018 Alcoholic Beverage License Renewal Application, to be mailed to licensees February 28, 2018.

 

            10.       At the request of David J. Martinez, Esq., on behalf of his clients, the Board approved a further 60-day extension of the pending alcoholic beverage license for the premises trading as Social @ 228.

 

            11.       At the request of the applicant, the Board approved a further 120-day extension of the pending alcoholic beverage license for the premises trading as Sharkbar and Seafood House.

 

            12.       The clerk shared an email dated 1/16 from Shannon Wilt advising that the Class B/R-BWL (on sale) alcoholic beverage license held by Daniel Barney Grinder, Grinder's Seafood, LLC, t/a Grinder's Seafood, 4665 Indian Head Hwy., Indian Head, MD 20640, is closed for the season and will reopen on Friday, April 20, 2018.

 

            13.       Upon a motion duly made, seconded and unanimously carried, the Board approved the Minutes of the December 14, 2017 and January 11, 2018 hearings.

 

            14.       The Board directed the clerk to see if the meeting room is available to reschedule the May 10, 2018 hearing to the third Thursday, May 17, 2018 due to a conflict with the Maryland Alcohol Licensing Association conference.

 

            15.       With no further business the meeting adjourned at 3:00 PM.

                                                                             

                                                                                    ____________________________________

                                                                                    Lisa Bailey, Clerk