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Owner wants to move Hagerstown bar fined for noise

May 01, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- The owner of a downtown bar fined for noise complaints said Wednesday he wants to move the business when the lease expires next year.

In April, Decourcy's Pub at 139 N. Mulberry St. was fined $1,000 because of problems with excessive noise, according to Robert Everhart, chairman of the Washington County Board of License Commissioners.

The board, known as the liquor board, regulates alcohol licenses.

Pub owner Adam O'Brien and others were before the board Wednesday to discuss a dispute about the building he leases.

When the lease is up in August 2009, he plans to move the business "just to try to get the neighborhood off our back," he told the board.

In an interview afterward, O'Brien said a statewide smoking ban that started in February created problems at his business, where many customers smoke.

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Before, people smoked inside. The pub told others they couldn't go out to smoke, then come back in, he said.

Now, with smoking prohibited inside, patrons must go outside. People are constantly reminded to be quiet outside and respect the neighborhood, but they don't listen, O'Brien said.

"It's not going to get any better," he said.

At a meeting last month, liquor inspector Robert Shoemaker reported hearing, on two occasions, loud music coming from the pub and seeing people smoking outside, according to a Herald-Mail story.

The smokers were noisy as they talked to each other and the music could be heard 250 feet from the pub, Shoemaker said at the time.

He said there were signs of progress during a third visit. However, Councilwoman Penny M. Nigh, who lives several blocks away, said she still gets noise complaints.

The board could have fined Decourcy's Pub as much as $2,500 and suspended its license for 30 days, Everhart said last month.

O'Brien said Wednesday the business has been open for 35 years and he has owned it since December 2006.

Alan Greenwald, who attended Wednesday's meeting, said O'Brien might open a more upscale establishment on Franklin Street instead.

Greenwald, who said he is advising O'Brien, owns the former Meda's Tavern building on East Franklin Street.

His plan includes a restaurant with live music, a deli, small retail spaces and condominium units. He also plans to renovate a carriage house to the rear of the property.

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