At the August Town Meeting, the owners of D’Ranch restaurant and their attorney spoke about their plans for the restaurant, located in the small strip of businesses on Maryland Avenue, just outside of town, across from the Giant food store. They asked the Mayor and Council to reconsider their previous opposition to their application for a transfer to this location, of the liquor license they hold from their now closed club, D’Revolution in the Hampton Mall. They maintained that while the restaurant has been successful, in order to make it grow, they need
to be able to have an on-premise liquor license so that they can serve liquor to their patrons. (This type of license would not allow off-site liquor sales.) The owners also informed the Council that they planned to have music and entertainment at the restaurant and that the restaurant would stay open until 2 PM. They announced that they would again be before the County’s Liquor Board at a hearing on August 23rd. After a great deal of consideration and discussion, Council has decided to continue to oppose this application.
A little over two years ago, Mayor Beyna and this Council successfully opposed this same license transfer. Town Attorney Richard Colaresi successfully argued enforcement of a regulation that precludes granting a liquor license to an establishment within 500 feet of an operating church. Cheverly was joined by the congregation of the Church as well as citizens from the Landover Knolls and Radiant Valley Citizens Associations, County Councilmember David Harrington and other elected officials. At the August 23rd hearing attended by Councilmember Lee Schachter, Chair of the Cheverly Planning Board, Hugh Guest, Town Administrator David Warrington, Richard Colaresi and me, the attorney for the applicant cited an exception to the 500 feet regulation, which allows for a license for a sit-down restaurant serving liquor from the bar. Mr. Colaresi asked for a continuance and the hearing will be Wednesday evening September 14th at 7:00 PM.
The Council and I strongly oppose this liquor license for a number of reasons. The license is being transferred from an adult entertainment club, D’Revolution, in the Hampton Mall. There were many, many problems at that location and residents and community leaders in that neighborhood fought to get it closed down or moved. The owner of that club, who is also the applicant for D’Ranch, has assured the Town that there will be no adult entertainment at this location and, despite the 2 PM closing, this will be a family restaurant with no negative impact on the neighborhood. Council and I remain skeptical, given D’Revolution’s notorious reputation. We need, and in fact encourage good restaurants and dining options in and just outside of Town, (Fratelli’s, the Friendly Inn and Angel’s to name
several), but we fear D’Ranch could quickly become another D’Revolution. In addition, we feel our fears are well founded given the history of the Black Scorpio Club, which was right here in Cheverly in 1994. While the applicant for D’Ranch states she had no involvement with Black Scorpio, a brother-in-law was the owner and operator. Black Scorpio was a nightclub operating out of a warehouse in the Cheverly Industrial Park. The permit was obtained for a private club, theatre, cultural activities and employee recreation center but soon became an out of control nightclub. Commercial residents of the Industrial Park were accosted, gunshots were commonplace and patrons ran through the residential neighborhoods around Euclid Park, sometimes as late as 3 AM. The Town successfully petitioned the County to revoke that license but not before a young man from Virginia was fatally shot outside the club and an underage girl had her face slashed.
We need as many people at the hearing as possible---at this type of hearing many people just showing up helps our cause. Unlike the previous hearing, when attendees had to take time off from work, this one is in the evening after work hours and just around the corner in the County Service Building across from Franklin’s Restaurant. Come a few minutes early to sign up to show your opposition or to speak in opposition.
Also at the August Town Meeting, Cheverly’s State Senator, Gwendolyn Britt, and State Delegates Victor Ramirez and Doyle Niemann spoke about the past legislative year and their expectations for the 47th District and the State in the upcoming session. There were questions from Council and the citizens in attendance concerning slots, taxes, plans for Prince George’s Hospital Center and many other issues. As we always do, Council asked for their help on many things including redevelopment of the Giant Shopping Center and Cheverly Metro/Tuxedo Road, money for the Kenilworth Interchange, and getting an MVA Express office in the District to name a few. The $100,000 grant our delegation had already secured for the Town’s Police station will soon be put to good use and they promised to continue to help with
funding for this project. The Councilmembers and I see Senator Britt and Delegates Ramirez and Niemann many times during the year, but this was a great opportunity for the residents of Cheverly to see them and ask questions. It was an informative meeting and we all thank them for their time and continued help and support.
And speaking of residents of Town, welcome to our newest Cheverly resident, State Delegate Victor Ramirez. Victor had been looking at homes in town and just purchased a house in Ward 2. Welcome!
Bladensburg High School opens. Many parents and students in town were anxiously awaiting the opening of the new Bladensburg High School. However, this excitement was tempered when Bladensburg High School students living in Cheverly were informed that there would be no bus transportation to and from school because they lived within a 2.1 mile radius of the school. In addition, the parents were informed just two days before the start of school, catching them off-guard with no time to make alternate arrangements. Vice-Mayor Vincent Ford (whose son also attends Bladensburg High) and I have been working with the County Schools Transportation Department, County Councilmember David Harrington’s office and County Executive Jack Johnson’s office to get this resolved. It is our position that while these students may live
just within the 2.1 mile radius, they have to cross two major roads, Route 202 and Route 450 in order to get to school and this is just not safe. Parents or concerned residents are encouraged to call County Councilmember David Harrington’s office (301-952-3864) and County Executive Jack Johnson’s office (301-952-4131). The Council and I will continue to push for a better plan to get these students to school safely. In the meantime, Police Chief Robshaw has directed his force to have a presence at Route 202 during the times our students walk to and home from school.