Montpelier Hills News

"Villas at Laurel" Town Homes in Rt 197 Bus Lot

Please click here to read this article on my "South Laurel
News and Views" Blog, summarizing information Roz Johnson
of Applewalk HoA has recently made available about the new
"Villas at Laurel" $500K and up Townhouse community planned
on Route 197 at Briarcroft Lane (at the Metro Bus lot).

"No newspaper articles were found about "Villas at Laurel".

Club Amazon Update May 6, 2006

This May 4 article about the May 3 Liquor Board Hearing for Club Amazon did not make it into this week's Laurel Gazette printed edition: Club Amazon to close temporarily, owners announce

After the May 3 Liquor Board hearing, the office of our District 1 County Councilman, Tom Dernoga, made inquiries with several relevant county departments regarding Club Amazon. Soon after that, the County Fire Marshall's office reportedly shut down Club Amazon effective May 5 apparently for continued violation of previous fire code citations.

At the May 3 Liquor Board hearing, Club Amazon owners had said they wanted to operate May 3, 4, 5, and 6 before voluntarily closing May 7 until June 14, the date of the next Liquor Board hearing. It appears that Club Amazon is now closed and will remain closed voluntarily or otherwise until June 14.

This poster (no longer on the GOGO website to which it was posted on April 5, 2006) appears to have advertised a LIVE music program at Club Amazon scheduled for May 12 by the GOGO band RARE ESSENCE which, if performed as advertised, would have apparently been in violation of The Amazon's current Liquor Board license restrictions against LIVE music.

Club Amazon Update May 5, 2006

The P.G. County Liquor Board hearing on Wednesday, May 3, was attended by over 80 people opposing the continued operation of the Club Amazon on Route 1 near Contee Road. No one attended in support of Amazon, except the Amazon's owners, operators and legal council.
It turned out, that hearing was to determine whether there should be a full "show-cause" hearing at a later date -- now set for June 14.
The Club Amazon owner's liquor license has many restrictions. As understood, Club Amazon is permitted to operate only a "family-style" restaurant (No live music) with a maximum capacity of 175 people. Also, Club Amazon must actively prevent any loitering in the parking lot or in cars in the lot.
By the Club Amazon owner's and manager's own sworn testimony on May 3, they are not operating as a "family-style restaurant" -- they have no functional kitchen, they serve free snacks only with the purchase or alcoholic beverages, and they have had 250 people in the building at a time. Police officers who responded to the recent shooting in the Amazon parking lot testified that on that night there were enough cars in the lot for over 400 people attending Club Amazon -- no other nearby businesses were open. Officers reported there were no outside security video cameras as required by the liquor license and too few off-duty police officers working as security guards to prevent loitering and preserve order inside and outside the club.
Many public officials and elected representatives, including our District 1 County Councilman Tom Dernoga, District 4 County Councilman Doug Peters, Laurel Mayor Craig Moe, and State Delegate Barbara Frush, among others forcefully urged the Liquor Board to immediately revoke the Club Amazon's liquor license, in particular because of numerous current violations of the Amazon's liquor license restrictions.
The Liquor Board Chairman said there were two separate issues. The mode of operation (family-friendly restaurant) and safety. The mode of operation change requested by Club Amazon owners (apparently to provide live music) and whether past violations of the mode of operation merited revoking the liquor license, would be addressed at the full public evidentiary hearing and decision meeting of the Liquor Board on June 14, as required by law to provide all parties with legally required due process.
As to safety, the Liquor Board Chairman said that Liquor Board inspectors would make new inspections with particular attention to whether Amazon is in compliance with all of the safety requirements of their liquor license -- some of which they are apparently already violating. If such violations are found, Club Amazon can be shut down immediately until those safety violations are fixed, which could be for a matter or hours or a matter of days.
Montpelier Hills resident Gary Stone's testimony asked the Liquor Board to make maxium use of their safety enforcement powers to shutdown Club Amazon if any safety violations continue to be found.
The Amazon owner offered and the Liquor Board accepted, that Amazon would voluntarily close down from May 7 through June 14, the date of the next hearing. But Club Amazon's owner stated that they would operate May 3, 4, 5, and 6.
Friday, May 5 is Cinco de Mayo. Amazon plans to host a Cinco de Mayo celebration with disc jockeys playing music (not live music). This may create safety violations such as over capacity and loitering.
Police officers and Karen Coakley, President of the Beltsville Civic Association and a member of the Prince George's District 6 Police Commanders Citizens Advisory Council, testified that because Police District 6 continues to be chronically understaffed -- any altercations requiring response by District 6 police, will leave the remaining police officers spread too thinly across all of the rest of District 6. Paul McCullagh, Montpelier Community Association President, also testified.
The clear implication is that any disturbance at Amazon requiring police response, is not only a threat to the safety of people at the Club Amazon and nearby, but such problems at Amazon put the lives and safety of ALL residents throughout District 6 at risk by not getting the timely police protection and emergency services they need in an emergency during the time that police are diverted to Club Amazon.
The public is invited to attend and testify at the June 14 Hearing at 7:30 pm. No advance registration is required to attend or speak. If you don't speak, just come to stand up and be counted "for" or "against", as happened on May 3. Here's the address and directions:

P.G. County Liquor Board
County Services Building
5012 Rhode Island Avenue Room 204
Hyattsville, Maryland 20781

301-699-2770 (no need to call)

Enter the parking garage near Farragut St and Rhode Island Ave. Remember your parking space number and use the machine inside the parking garage lobby to pay the parking fee of $ .75 per hour in advance

Directions: Take Route 1 south (Baltimore Ave) and continue on RT 1 when it becomes Rhode Island Avenue in Hyattsville. Alternatively, to beat rush-hour traffic, consider taking Old Baltimore Pike (RT 201) south to Decatur Street (see map). Be prepared to wait for any trains crossing Decatur or Baltimore Ave at that time.