County License Board Denies Pocomoke Legion’s Hours Request

SNOW HILL – Officials denied a request to extend the American Legion’s hours in Pocomoke.

The Worcester County Board of License Commissioners (BLC) voted unanimously Oct. 20 to deny a request to expand the hours at Pocomoke’s American Legion Post 93.

“I have heard nothing today to make me think we should extend it,” said BLC Chairman William Esham. “To the contrary, the only thing I can tell you is it sounds like to me you need to get your house in order or you’re going to be back down here.”

A trio of American Legion Post 93 representatives approached the board last Wednesday asking to expand operating hours from 11 p.m. until midnight to help with financial obligations.

Tom Coates, the board’s attorney, pointed out that the Legion was hosting a variety of events but didn’t appear to be distributing many charitable contributions with the money raised. He added that the Legion’s alcohol license was meant to allow it to serve members and their guests, not necessarily to host events.

A handful of area residents were in attendance to object to any changes to the facility’s hours. Pocomoke City Mayor Susan Harrison said the town council did not want the hours extended. She added that the Legion had been operating without a business license since the end of August.

“We’ve tried to give leniency but there won’t be any more,” she said. “It’s not right.”

Ronnie Durham, who owns a garage near the Legion, said when events were held at the facility cars parked along the street made it difficult for him to get his tow truck out.

“I think the timing is plenty right now,” he said.

Bypass Road resident Valerie Holland told the board there was loud music at the Legion and that she’d found a bullet hole in her fence.

BLC member Marty Pusey said that the board had put conditions in place when the Legion’s liquor license was renewed in 2018. One of those conditions was that all guests sign in. “There’s no way all the guests are signing in,” Coates said.

Steve Giddens, one of the Legion’s representatives at the hearing, said there was one sign-in book that had been accidently destroyed.

“I’m holding myself accountable for any issues,” he said.

Giddens added that the camera system the board required was up and running. He said he personally picks up trash after events at the Legion.

Esham said neighbors, however, didn’t appear to be any happier with the Legion now than they were when they voiced complaints in 2018.

BLC member Charles Nichols made a motion to deny the request to extend hours. The board voted 3-0 in support.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.