Meeting a court deadline, Odell's hires armed guards

July 18, 1992

Meeting yesterday's court-imposed deadline, the owners of Odell's have hired a private security agency to keep peace at the popular North Avenue nightclub and asked the city for permission to use off-duty police for guards.

In addition, the owners revised a zoning appeal yesterday that, if approved, would change the club's use from a "private club" to a "dance hall" and double the nightspot's capacity to 1,000 patrons, said Edward Smith Jr., a lawyer representing 19-21 Inc., the owners of Odell's.

The actions were taken after city officials and lawyers for Odell's met Tuesday at a hastily convened conference with Baltimore Circuit Judge Ellen L. Hollander. The conference followed an early Monday morning shooting within 100 feet of the club.

Five people received minor wounds in that shooting, in the first block of East North

Avenue.

Just two weeks before the incident, Judge Hollander had approved an agreement between the city and club owners which allowed the nightspot to remain open pending the zoning appeal, though the city had sought to shut it down in the last year.

Mr. Smith said that Odell's had contracted with Watkins Security Agency Inc., and that five armed guards would patrol the club on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights until action is taken by the city Police Department on the owners' request to allow off-duty officers to be hired for work there.

He said he hand-delivered Odell's request to the Police Department on Thursday, though city officials -- and another lawyer representing Odell's -- have expressed doubts the city would approve such a request.

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