(Update 6:35 p.m.)—The Baltimore County Liquor Board is delaying its decision to grant AMF Towson Lanes a liquor license until business representatives can discuss the issue with concerned Campus Hills community members.
The hearing, which began Monday afternoon, is tentatively set to resume on Nov. 19.
Ahead of the hearing, Councilman David Marks had already scheduled a Nov. 8 meeting with Towson Lanes officials. After requesting a brief recess, Linda Carter, an attorney representing the bowling alley, located in the 700 block of Southwick Drive, invited residents to attend and asked the board to halt the proceedings until after the meeting.
Neighbors have complained about regular disruptive activity such as drinking, trash accumulation and loitering outside the facility. Douglas Meister, another attorney for Towson Lanes, denied the allegations on Friday.
Residents opposing the license at the bowling alley packed the hearing room. Board Chairman Charles Klein said 23 attendees signed up to speak against the license. Only seven of them, including Marks, ended up testifying in the interest of saving time and avoiding redundancy.
Katherine Wikstrom, a Campus Hills resident, read a statement on behalf of the community. She noted that the main problems with the facility is its history of crime, irresponsible management and location in a residential district.
Prior to the hearing, Senator James Brochin submitted a letter to the board also expressing his opposition to the license.
AMF employees, including the Towson location's general manager Thomas Lawson and district manager Gregg Nichols, argued that the business has been a good neighbor and noted plans to improve community relations and communication. Only one person—a Middle River resident—not affiliated with AMF testified in support of the license.
Lawson said he previously worked for two years at AMF Dundalk, which obtained a liquor license while he was employed. He pointed out that there were no violations in Dundalk, and the license helped the Dundalk location improve its business. Lawson also said the Towson location's customers are requesting alcoholic beverages on a daily basis, and noted that Towson Lanes is likely losing business because it doesn't have a license.
Campus Hill residents said they had obtained 247 signatures protesting the license. Lawson said Towson Lanes had obtained 325 signatures in support.