County Council bill puts curbs on after-hours nightclubs for teens

Brooklyn Park residents opposed one near a school

May 07, 1999|By Devon Spurgeon | Devon Spurgeon,SUN STAFF

A bill passed by the Anne Arundel County Council this week has helped Brooklyn Park residents win a battle they've waged against an after-hours teen nightclub.

The bill prohibits such establishments within 1,000 feet of a school or church. The club was to have opened a block from Park Elementary School on 11th Avenue.

"The school was built three years ago, and we are concerned about the amount of graffiti, vandalism and other activities that would detract from our building and library," said Principal Diane Lenzi.

Mark Avery, a native of the working-class neighborhood, wanted to open an alcohol-free dance spot called Club Lightnin'. He also owns six bail-bond businesses in the Baltimore area.

Avery's plan was to put Club Lightnin' in a 14,000-square-foot space beneath Ollie's Bargain Outlet in a shopping center at 11th Avenue and Ritchie Highway. Between 8 p.m. and midnight on Friday and Saturday nights, the club would have been open to young adults. After midnight, only customers 21 and older would have been admitted.

Avery ran into trouble when residents complained about his plan to County Councilwoman Pamela G. Beidle, who represents the 1st District.

Beidle drafted the bill in response to concerns about traffic and other problems at a similar club in Baltimore County.

"No good can come out of a business that is open until 5 a.m. in the morning and plays loud music," said Lyn Shifflett, secretary of the Brooklyn Heights Improvement Association. "I don't feel that these kinds of clubs should be in residential areas."

The legislation classifies alcohol-free dance clubs that are open after 2 a.m. under special exception use and requires that a public hearing be held before the clubs can open.

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