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Council may require license for 'rave' clubs

December 05, 2000

Council may require license for 'rave' clubs



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


A for-profit music or dance club that doesn't serve alcohol would have to get a $500 annual license from the City of Hagerstown under a law the City Council is considering.

City Council members reviewed an Entertainment Clubs licensing law Tuesday, and are expected to discuss the matter again Tuesday. A vote on the proposed law has not been scheduled.

While some council members had questions about language in the proposed law, no council members said they opposed it.

Police Chief Arthur Smith said he asked for the law because there is no oversight for music or dance clubs that do not have liquor licenses, but permit patrons to bring their own alcoholic beverages.

Smith said the issue came to his attention earlier this year when a "rave" club opened for a few weeks on North Potomac Street across from City Hall.

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Smith said he knows of no exisiting businesses that would be affected by the proposed licensing.

He said the licensing law would not prohibit a new club from coming to Hagerstown.

"It just sets some guidelines," Smith said.

An applicant for the license would have to show proof of insurance, describe how they would control traffic and provide security, and state whether the club will be a teen club or an over-21 club.

The proposed law requires a nonrefundable annual application fee of $500.

Clubs exempt from the law include those with a liquor license - because they already have government oversight - theaters, restaurants, and clubs sponsored or operated by a government, educational institution, or religious, charitable, benevolent, fraternal or social organization.

Some council members had questions about the age limits the proposed law would put on those working at or patronizing the different clubs.

Under the proposed licensing law, those under 21 would have to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to get into an over-21 club, unless they were entertainers hired by the club.

Also, no one over 21 would be allowed into a teen club except club entertainers, club employees or a parent or guardian of someone under 21 who is at the club.

Anyone under 16 would need to be accompanied by a parent of guardian to get into a teen club.

Violators of the proposed licensing law would face a $1,000 fine.

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