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Tavern's moving plan nixed

December 23, 2004|BY GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The Hagerstown Board of Zoning Appeals on Monday rejected a request to allow a tavern to open near The Maryland Theatre, thwarting a second relocation attempt by a long-time downtown tavern owner.

The zoning appeals board on Monday deliberated on items that were not immediately decided at its Dec. 15 meeting, City Planning Director Kathleen Maher said Wednesday.

Last week, the zoning appeals board heard testimony from Mary Ellen Pryor, owner of Short Stop Tavern at 17 W. Antietam St., her lawyer Kent Oliver and opponents of the proposal to allow the tavern to move a half-block from its current location. The tavern has been open for 23 years.

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Pryor had requested the special exception from the city's zoning rules for 12 Rochester Place, an alley inside the block surrounded by West Washington, South Potomac and West Antietam streets and Summit Avenue.

The special exception would have allowed Pryor to place a tavern in the building, which is across an alley from The Maryland Theatre.

Pryor and Oliver said in their testimony that the tavern would not increase its size or change its liquor license. They presented letters from nearby businesses and Hagerstown City Police, saying the letters described Pryor's business as one that has not created problems.

School officials, two city council members, the executive director of the Maryland Theatre and the city's zoning administrator testified in opposition to the special exception request.

They said the tavern - which holds a license to sell beer and liquor to be consumed on- and off-premises - would be a temptation for youths attending performances at the theater or the proposed county arts school that is to be housed near the theater.

Pryor, reached Wednesday, declined to comment further.

Oliver said last week during the hearing that the building is expected to be demolished, and Pryor had planned a move to space inside The Dagmar hotel, a few doors down and across the street from the current location.

Pryor was told she could not do so because the Community Action Council was sheltering families in the building.

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