Message from Jo Ann Robinson ( jooi...@msn.com<mailto:jooi...@msn.com> ):
RESIST THE BEGINNINGS is a rule that has served me well from when it was
impressed on me as a teenager to this present day. I believe that it is time
to apply it to the issue of whether or not our community supports a liquor
license and zoning change for Peabody Heights Brewery, which would permit
retail sales of beer, numerous "events" and live entertainment at Barclay and
At the beginning of our relationship with the brewery, the owners and AIA
entered into a Memorandum of Understanding which included a provision that
there would be no retail sales on the premises (signed by brewery owner Hollis
Albert on 12/2/2011). A brief couple of years later we face a new law
permitting breweries to sell their wares on the premises, and our Peabody
Heights neighbors are asking us to support their application for a license
under the new law, rendering the first MOU irrelevant.
At the beginning of the owners' discussions with community residents (at a
meeting in late August) about this new license application the owners proposed
certain hours of operation and a certain number of special events. Already,
they have amended the proposal presented in August to include longer hours of
operation and more special events - totaling, now some 50+ events yearly, in
addition to those during regular retail hours (5-9 Mon - Fri, 11-9 Sat).
Their proposal Includes live entertainment for such events.
In the beginning I welcomed the brewery's taking up residence in a vacant
building. I saw no problem with the occasional weekend events held there; I
attended and enjoyed two of them. I made a point of buying Raven and Poe
beers at regular liquor stores. I assumed our tolerant and quirky
neighborhood could accommodate a brewery.
I do not believe we should accommodate a bar, for the following reasons:
* Beer being drunk on the premises, drinkers coming and going, and
growlers being carried onto the streets are activities that do not mix well
with the coming and going of children and youth.
Barclay School is right across the street. The latest proposed hours for
liquor sales overlap with the school's after- care program and evening
programs scheduled during the school year.
When the former Barclay School principal, Gertrude
Williams, learned of the
proposed bar she declared, "they would never think
of trying to sell liquor
across the street from Roland Park public school
or Mt. Washington. " To the
best of my knowledge, no one in AIA has a child at
Barclay and, until the meeting
for Oct. 15 was set (rather late in the process), no one has made a point of
informing parents of Barclay students.
The 29th Street Community Center is right around the corner. Its program
hours will overlap even more than the school's with the liquor sales.
* The residential streets in the vicinity of the brewery are not
constructed to absorb the foot traffic, car traffic, parking and noise of 50+
events a year with live entertainment, drawing crowds of up to 300+ people.
Brewery owners have proposed valet parking in lots several blocks from
the site. This will not prevent patrons from taking all available street
leaving the valet system as a last resort.
As our weekly crime tally indicates, muggings and
car vandalism and larceny are more
frequent in this area than we wish. Those who
park any distance from the
brewery, whether valets or customers, will be
possible targets of these too-common
* Once word gets out that the brewery has a bar and growlers , Peabody
Heights will become a magnet for our college student neighbors, a development
that will enhance neither the peace of the neighborhood nor the safety of the
* We may hope that a new MOU can be crafted that will somehow address
the above concerns
and issues that others may raise, but our experience with the brewery to date
shows that such
agreements have no real force. It is likely that the current owners will
new imperatives for their enterprise that go beyond the latest MOU, and we
also need to
consider the possibility of the business changing hands. In that case, we
cannot expect that that new owners will adopt whatever limits on beer- sale
hours, events and entertainment we thought we had secured.
I hope that these and other concerns will be examined fully at the meeting at
5:30 p.m. at the 29th Street Community Center on October 15th. And I urge us
to think carefully before entering into this newest beginning requested by
Peabody Heights Brewery.
Jo Ann Robinson
Chat mailing list