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City approves law requiring $500 license from dry clubs

January 17, 2001

City approves law requiring $500 license from dry clubs



By DAN KULIN / Staff Writer


For-profit entertainment clubs in Hagerstown that don't serve alcohol now need a $500 license from the city to operate.

The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to adopt the new licensing law and make it effective immediately.

The council decided last week to have the vote this week because a new music club was expected to open soon.

No existing clubs are expected to be affected by the new licensing law.

The licensing law requires club owners to pay a $500 annual application fee, show proof of insurance, describe how they will provide security inside and around the club, and establish age restrictions for the clubs.

Under-21 clubs are prohibited from admitting anyone under 16, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian. Anyone 21 or older, unless they are club employees, entertainers hired by the club, or a parent or guardian of an under-16 club patron, would be barred from an under-21 club.

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At over-21 clubs, anyone under 21 would not be allowed in unless they were club employees, club entertainers, or accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Anthony Giannoumis, 21, of Greencastle, Pa., a student at Penn State Mont Alto, said he plans to open Cabaret 92, a nonalcoholic music club, on the second floor of 92 W. Washington St.

Giannoumis said Tuesday the club could open in February, but will probably open in April or May.

He said he may try to apply for licenses to be both an over-21 and under-21 club, so he could switch depending on the night.

Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith, who suggested the licensing law, said the law appears to prohibit one club from having two licenses. But Smith said it is a matter he would have to review with the city attorney because "that kind of a request probably wasn't envisioned when the (law) was written."

Smith suggested the licensing law after realizing there was no government oversight of music clubs that do not have liquor licenses. The issue came to his attention last year when a "rave" club opened for a few weeks on North Potomac Street across from City Hall.

Smith said the licensing law is intended to make sure clubs are properly run.

Before last week, a vote on the club licensing law was expected in late January, and the law wasn't expected to go into effect until early March. New laws typically have a waiting period between the final council vote and the effective date.

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