Halfway residents oppose billiards parlor

March 18, 1998|By STEVEN T. DENNIS

Halfway residents oppose billiards parlor

Most of the more than 50 people who showed up for a zoning hearing Wednesday night were opposed to a billiards parlor and restaurant proposed for York Road near the Western Sizzlin' restaurant on Halfway Boulevard.

Opponents said their chief concern was about Hagerstown Billiards Inc.'s plan to serve beer.

Jason Carbaugh, co-owner of Hagerstown Billiards with his brother Gary, told the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals that a special exception should be granted for the parlor because it is functionally similar to principal permitted uses in the Business Local zone, including taverns.

Carbaugh said his establishment would be "upscale" and family-oriented and would give people in Hagerstown something to do.

The business would be in a commercial building called The Village, which has housed an amateur radio shop and a piece goods store.


"I don't see the term 'upscale' and a pool hall and a beer joint as being synonymous," said Harry Davis of Heisterboro Road, who said he can see the building from his front door.

"Family and alcohol don't go together," said Charles Prince, also of Heisterboro Road.

Richard Gross, pastor of Virginia Avenue Baptist Church, said the area doesn't need more establishments that serve alcohol.

The Carbaughs said their billiards parlor would be no different from area bowling alleys that serve alcohol.

Jason Carbaugh said a security firm would be hired to patrol the parking lot to prevent loitering.

The parlor would have 20 Brunswick Gold Crown pool tables that retail at about $7,000 each, Carbaugh said. The restaurant would serve hot and cold sandwiches, burgers and beer, he said.

The parlor would be open from noon to midnight daily and loud music wouldn't be allowed, the Carbaughs said.

Petitions were presented that were said to contain signatures of more than 150 people opposed to the pool hall.

James Oden, the wishful master of Masonic Lodge 217, which would border the parlor, said he and most members of the lodge opposed the parlor. Oden said the lodge moved out of downtown Hagerstown to get away from nightlife.

Paul Romsburg Jr., whose family owns the Western Sizzlin', said he was concerned that some parlor patrons would use his parking lot, hurting his business.

His lawyer, Preston Cecil, said the billiards parlor falls far short of the number of parking spaces required in the zoning ordinance.

Romsburg also said he was concerned that drivers impaired by alcohol might come from the parlor. An alcohol-serving establishment next-door could also deter some families from dining at his restaurant, he said.

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