Fells Point club fined $3,000 by board for noise violations

Bohager's also ordered to close for three days

June 02, 2000|By M. Dion Thompson | M. Dion Thompson,SUN STAFF

A popular Fells Point nightclub where Mayor Martin O'Malley's band is scheduled to play this weekend was fined $3,000 yesterday by the city liquor board and ordered to close for three days because of noise violations.

Leonard R. Skolnik, chairman of the city's Board of Liquor License Commissioners, said the board's action should send a strong message to the owner of Bohager's, who was cited by liquor inspectors for violations of the city's noise ordinance May 12, 18 and 20.

"He's got to keep the sound down. It's that simple," said Skolnik of Damian Bohager, the club owner. "We're not happy hurting Bohager's at all. It's been frustrating, as a matter of fact, because we thought he and the neighbors could work it out."

The bar and Fells Point residents have been at odds for years. Homeowners say that Bohager's and other Fells Point bars are too loud and that the owners cannot control patrons. The parties met last month in hopes of finding a compromise, but to no avail.

The club in the 700 block of S. Eden St. could be shut down for 30 days if the fine isn't paid by Thursday. Even if the fine is paid, the board's ruling requires that Bohager's be closed for three days, an order that is scheduled to take effect June 9.

The fine and closing would be delayed if the case were appealed to Circuit Court.

Mel Kodenski, lawyer for Bohager's, said he had not decided whether to appeal.

The mayor's band, O'Malley's March, and another band, Stevie and The Satellites, are part of a battle-of-the-bands charity fund-raiser scheduled Sunday at Bohager's. Proceeds will benefit the Police Athletic League.

O'Malley said his band will be there, and no noise ordinances will be violated.

"We're absolutely going to play. It's for a good cause, the PAL programs," he said. "We're going to ask the soundman to make sure the sound level is down."

Harriet Kohl, president of the Fells Point Homeowners Association, said she was pleased with the city liquor board's ruling.

"It is not our intention to put Damian Bohager out of business," said Kohl. "We just want him to be a good neighbor, do what he says he's going to do, limit the noise so the residents near his establishment can sleep at night."

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