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Controversial bills for late night life to be aired


Historic district residents are expected to turn out in full force at City Hall tonight to oppose two controversial proposals that would bring more late-night clubs and restaurants to downtown Annapolis.

Alderman Louise Hammond, a Ward 1 Democrat, who vehemently opposes both bills, spent the past week rounding up opponents to the measures.

She has assembled a 70-page packet, emblazoned with the title "A Deal's A Deal," that argues the bills violate the Ward One Sector Study.

That agreement, brokered over 3 1/2 -years by residents, business owners, city planners, preservationists and tourism officials, is intended to control development in the downtown historic district.

The majority of the council has co-sponsored a bill by Alderman Carl O. Snowden, Ward 5 Democrat, that would allow restaurants with midnight closings to receive zoning permits for 2 a.m. liquor licenses, live entertainment and dancing.

The legislation does not require restaurant owners to seek additional permits or go through public hearings.

Mr. Snowden argues that his measure is written narrowly and applies only to two restaurants he believes have been unfairly denied 2 a.m. closing times: Buddy's Crabs & Ribs and Maria's zTC Sicilian Ristorante and Cafe.

Mr. Snowden said he would amend his bill to make doubly sure that only those restaurants can apply.

But Ms. Hammond contends that even with the amendment, the legislation is dangerous.

She says the premise of the legislation violates the sector study and undermines the quality of life in the historic district.

The other bill, sponsored by Alderman Ellen O. Moyer, a Ward 8 Democrat, would allow all downtown restaurants to stay open until 2 a.m. after the businesses submit to public hearings for permits.

The public hearing on the proposed legislation begins at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The council will vote on the measures Oct. 9.

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