Councilman Bill Henry said he will reintroduce legislation requiring businesses operating between midnight and 4 a.m. to get a special license to stay open in Baltimore City.
The new license would be renewed annually. Businesses with a liquor license that operate past midnight would be exempt from obtaining another license. Henry said this would give communities a stronger ability to address “problem” businesses.
Henry initially introduced the bill in April 2008 to help a community deal with a gas station attracting the "wrong element" in his district. It received a committee hearing in 2009. During that hearing, Henry said too many good businesses, such as Royal Farms, were objecting to the proposal.
Since that hearing, though, Henry said he has devised a way that would prevent the law from “catching dolphins with a tuna net.” He also said that he intends to reintroduce the legislation following the New Year.
After Monday night’s council meeting, Henry said that the latest murder at Yau Bros. Chinese Carryout played a role in his deciding to reintroduce the late night licensing bill.
During the council meeting, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke spoke in favor of Henry’s legislation. She said asking the police for a padlock hearing is a complicated process, but requiring businesses that operate overnight to have a separate license that neighbors could challenge would be a help.
Currently, the police have the ability to close businesses for up to a year if proven that they are a danger to the surrounding community.