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Advertise on the Tentacle

December 3, 2012

Communication Key to City Night Life

Jill King

Frederick County celebrated a win this week when a local winery in Frederick City was able to move its operations home. Meanwhile Frederick City suffered a few setbacks, including the loss of Frederick Wine Cellars.


The Board of County Commissioners, led by Blaine Young, has consistently proved their mission in making the county business friendly, through revising and creating a less stifling comprehensive plan.


On the other hand Frederick City is having great difficulties in their mixed use areas creating issue between residents and businesses over property issues, noise ordinances, and entertainment in the downtown area. Recent crimes and disruptions in downtown Frederick have led to a meeting of business owners along Carroll Creek which will be today, Monday December 3 at 6 P.M. at the C. Burr Artz Library on East Patrick Street.


There are many difficulties in running a business that borders publicly owned land, such as the creek; but hopefully there will be some suggestions here which will continue to promote the aesthetic, yet profitable public/private Carroll Creek area.


The next issue comes from an area in Frederick City, Market Street and its close environs, which serves up fine dining and a night life that is known all over the Washington metropolitan area. The customers here are not just the locals; many travel for miles for the superb cuisine and the array of bands that play here on the weekends.


In July 2011, in a ruling by the Frederick City Planning Board, Mistero's was allowed to provide entertainment until 12:30 A.M. Since this restaurant, that used to house La Paz, reopened there have been the regular problems of finding staff and bands that are willing to help enforce the rules, and the owners and a manager who will respect the neighbors who live in close proximity.


Two items were placed on the Planning and Zoning Appeals agenda, for Mistero's Bar and Grill, located at 18 Market Space, a stone’s throw from Market Street and buffered by one of the several echo-chamber parking decks. This is also in a mixed use area with businesses, residential, and several church spaces, which are typically empty in the evening hours. The first item was for them to maintain their entertainment allowance, while the second sought for them to open up the existing entertainment license until 1:30 A.M. Another agenda item sought agreement for Mexicali Cantina to have bands play from 10 P.M. – 2 A.M., one night a week.


Although there isn't a liaison from the Board of Alderman, it is commendable that Aldermen Kelly Russell and Carroll Krimm were in the audience and had an interest in the issue.


It is the few people that are within the proximity of the bar and grills that have experienced problems requiring police intervention. This has caused them to speak against Mistero's being able to compete in the area.


Many of the infractions that the residents and the representative of Evangelical Lutheran Church, who own several apartments in the area noted, were those of discarded trash, broken bottles, and loud people outside of the establishment. It would be difficult for these issues to be addressed as belonging specifically to this establishment, but they could be linked to the parking deck next door and in the foreground of this building.


Mistero's new manager testified that it was bad when he came on board, but improvements to situations blamed on the restaurant can be proven by police logs. They still had not reached the warning level of five occurrences.


Unfortunately, the few who did speak against the proposal won this one, removing Mistero's as a potential place for late night entertainment, during the upcoming holiday events. There will be another hearing in six months to see if there are improvements.


It has been suggested that there should be a scale, based on location as to what time a business can supply entertainment. This resolution is not a viable solution in keeping business in the City of Frederick. If the ones in mixed areas are only allowed to have entertainment until 11 P.M., or even 12:30, they are losing to their neighboring establishments, which will be grandfathered in and operate 1:30 or 2 A.M.


Creating an environment that is unequal is a discriminatory technique, which will cause more loss in the growth of small business in Frederick City. Moving forward, several suggestions and meetings should occur to find outside resolutions, instead of property issues which is delicate in any realm.


Air is the natural result of sound occurring. The parking deck is naturally a loud place and a host for many coming to and leaving from the restaurants and night life. Even living outside of Frederick City has its noise issues, that of late night ambulances, people chatting loudly on their way home, and neighbors in general.


Of course, this boils down to frequency issues, which could be resolved in planning stages.


Even though testimony was provided by all of the persons involved, including two local police officers, it appeared that there was no communications among those directly involved prior to this hearing.


In looking into this, there are manners in which to prep buildings prior to completion, if their intention is to have entertainment. In older buildings, such as this where this may have not been the intent or due to age it becomes a little more difficult; also, there is the issue of going outside to smoke, or the door opening frequently.


A little innovation may be needed; cork on walls, padding, fabric and material, or updates to floors, ceilings, and walls, to contain the sound. All of this may be necessary. There are also some great sound engineers in the area who know how to reduce noise, creating a neighbor friendly atmosphere.


The planning process is a necessary and appreciated part of government, but there should be more mediation prior to signing off on property issues, without seeking other resolutions.


Retraining my brain for the future, conferring with my past....





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