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Cancun Cantina owners say they will try to maintain order in effort to keep liquor license

October 02, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

HAGERSTOWN -- The owners of Cancun Cantina on Dual Highway in Hagerstown told the Washington County liquor board Wednesday that they plan to keep their customers under control and the music low after an incident at the nightclub in July.

Robert L. Everhart, chairman of the Board of License Commissioners for Washington County, known as the liquor board, said the club is alleged to have violated a noise control ordinance that states, "all licensees shall operate their establishments in such a manner as to avoid disturbing the peace, safety and quiet of the neighborhood where located."

Although the specifics of the July 20 incident were not discussed during a hearing between the liquor board and the owners of Cancun Cantina, several people have complained that the club's music was played too loud on several occasions, Everhart said.

Joe Rouse, one of Cancun Cantina's co-owners, said management has placed two disc jockeys on probation for playing music at inappropriate levels.

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"I agree that none of this should have happened," Rouse said. "I take this very seriously ... We try to run a good place."

The discussion also covered an incident in which a group of people entered the club and started to create problems.

Charles F. Mades, liquor board treasurer, said Hagerstown Police officers were called to the scene and had to use pepper spray to restore order.

Everhart said the liquor board understands that things can get out of control at nightclubs, but "the responsibility falls on the licensee."

In an effort to curb noise complaints and disorderly customers, the Cancun Cantina staff will use a decibel meter to monitor noise levels and asks the Hagerstown Police Department to place an officer in the parking lot on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays - the days that Rouse said were the most troublesome.

Hagerstown patrol officer Thomas G. Kelley, who attended the discussion, praised Cancun Cantina's management for working with the police department to maintain a peaceful environment. The previous management of the nightclub, Kelley said, was far from cooperative.

The liquor board agreed to reach a decision within 30 days.

If they are found guilty, Rouse and his partners could lose their liquor license and be ordered to pay a $2,500 fine, Everhart said. That penalty, which is the maximum, is rarely assessed.

Everhart said it has been alleged that Cancun Cantina also served alcohol to underage patrons, but that issue would be discussed at a later date.

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