Liquor Board Grants Transfer for Crooked I

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Liquor Board Grants Transfer for Crooked I

Prince Frederick, MD - 3/23/2012

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By Marty Madden

Two applications—one to grant a Class D On Sale license and another for a location transfer—submitted by Chesapeake Beach business owners were considered during the Thursday, March 22 meeting of the Calvert County Liquor Board. Both submissions drew harsh comments from three property owners living in proximity to the two establishments.

In the end, the board granted the location transfer of a Class D (on-site sale of beer, wine and liquor) to CCI Entertainment LLC, the syndicate that owns and operates the Crooked I Sports Bar. The panel deferred a final decision on the granting of a license to Kevin and Theresa H. York, who plan to operate a tavern at the Crooked I’s current location. CC! Entertainment plans to relocate the Crooked I to a nearby strip mall, which was previously the location of a bar and pizzeria. The Yorks intend to return the name “Chaney’s to the bar and grill they will operate.

Liquor board chairman Alonzo Barber explained that the Yorks’ application carries some legal concerns that need to be vetted with the help of counsel. The liquor board’s attorney, Robert Damalouji, did not attend the meeting.

The adjacent property owners—Anne Drissel, Marie Drissel and Dale Lyons of Bay Crest Courts—cited the “disruptive behaviors” of some of the Crooked I’s patrons as their reason for opposing the granting of the licenses. “The drunks are going to pull out of the park lot, rev up their engines and cuss,” said Anne Drissel. “They’ve destroyed the lives and the peace and quiet.”

“We don’t consider them good, honorable neighbors,” Marie Drissel said of the Yorks, who operated the bar as Chaney’s until 2006, when it became the Crooked I.

“The Yorks want to be good neighbors,” said Mark Davis, the couple’s attorney. Unlike the Crooked I, Davis said Chaney’s “is not going to be a gambling establishment.”

The instant bingo machines at the Crooked I are currently the subject of legislation in Annapolis aimed at extending the sunset on the devices, which mimic slot machines.

Ryan Hill, one of the owners of the Crooked I, said the business employs off-duty Calvert County sheriff’s deputies. Hill said deputies are not seeing the “fights” that complainants are reporting to authorities. “It’s short bursts of sound,” said Hill.

“The calls we get are unfounded,” said Sgt. Ron Naughton of the Calvert County Sheriff’s Office, who moonlights as a security officer at the Crooked I. He added the Crooked I’s clientele are mostly people over 40 who come to play bingo.

“A majority of our revenue is bingo-related,” said Christopher Russell, another Crooked I owner.

“Everybody here is good people,” said former liquor board member Allen Swann, who offered testimony. “When people get out in your parking lot and howl at the moon there’s not much you can do about it.”

Of the Crooked I’s new location, Swann praised CCI Entertainment for their intention to remove a wooden outdoor patron area. Swann said a previous owner had built the outdoor deck without the liquor board’s approval.

As to the current Crooked I location, Swann admitted “the noise in the parking lot in the back is a problem. That’s going to be the key.”

CCI Entertainment, which currently leases the old Chaney’s location, is trying to work out a lease deal with York. Hill said regardless of the lease situation at Chaney’s, the Crooked I will relocate in the nearby strip mall.

The liquor board’s granting of a license transfer is contingent upon CCI Entertainment’s procurement of all the proper permits.

In a telephone interview with The Bay Net Friday, March 23, Marie Drissel indicated the liquor board’s actions will prompt the three women to leave Chesapeake Beach. “We’re thinking of selling our place,” she said. “We are so disappointed. With two bars there I believe it’s going to get noisier and noisier.”

Contact Marty Madden at marty.madden@thebaynet.com



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