Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Public Hearing, 10/22

I attended the public hearing last night, and these things I know:

1. No matter what time of year it is, or how many people are at a city council meeting, it is always 85 degrees in that place.

2. Ward 1 has the most organized residents organization in world history.

3. If all of the Ward 1 residents knew what the W1RA was saying on their behalf, there would be some angry people.

4. City Hall needs a new sound system.

There really was only 1 event to speak of last night, which is 2 am licenses. If I had to guess, I would say there were 65 speakers in total, which is more than I remember speaking on any issue since I have been paying attention.

The people who oppose the bill say one or more of the following things:

-We do not want any more 2 am licenses because they increase the chances that
our quality of life will be disrupted and/or our property will be damaged.

-The bar owners knew what they were getting into when they opened their

-Changes like this should go through the full zoning process, possibly to be
addressed in the new Comprehensive Plan or in a new Ward 1 Sector Study.

The people who favor the bill say one or more of these things:

-The city's zoning is arbitrarily unfair, as new West St. businesses open
with 2 am licenses while established bars only blocks away cannot even apply for
a 2 am.

-The reputable businesses should not be punished for the failures of some
bars (read: O'Briens) to serve in a responsible way, nor for the failures of some people (read: O'Briens' customers) to drink in a responsible way.

-This is a police enforcement issue--public intoxication, vandalism, and
drunk driving are already against the law. Let's hire more police officers and
really address the problem, not the not-problem.

-The city's burdensome zoning laws in the historic district are causing a
migration of businesses away from downtown and towards places like West St.,
Parole, and Severna Park.

-Downtown residents knew what they were getting when they decided to
buy a house so close to an urban, tourist area.

I continue to take the side of the 2 am supporters, and while I actually agree with the objections of the Ward 1 residents, I think the way they go about things is total balderdash. But, they would probably say the same about the reverse.

No comments: