Neighborhoods getting spillover
As the next-door neighbor to Upper King Street's burgeoning bar scene, the Cannonborough-Elliotborough community has had to deal with its fair share of late night nuisances.
Scores of drunken people make their way through the neighborhood, creating noise, litter and raucousness when bars shut down on the weekends, residents say.
And as space runs out on Upper King, more bars and restaurants have spread into the adjacent neighborhoods, and at least three more are on the way.
To stunt the growth of the bar scene in residential areas, City Council has proposed an ordinance that would require all new bars, restaurants, food marts and gas stations that want to open in neighborhoods to close by 11 p.m. It would not change existing businesses' hours.
But it's unclear whether that would address the neighbors' complaints. Most bars and restaurants in the area already close by midnight. The two that stay open until 2 a.m. are Cutty's on Bogard Street and The Warehouse at Spring and St. Philip streets.
James Groetzinger, co-owner of The Warehouse, rejects the notion that the bar has contributed to noise in the neighborhood. "I think the majority of the people causing a ruckus in the neighborhood are passersby coming from King," he said.
Matt Heck, an owner of Cutty's who also lives in Elliotborough, said his bar wasn't a part of the problem, either.
"Cutty's has never had a line. We have people outside smoking cigarettes, but that's it. We are not a part of the issue that the city is trying to control. We're a tiny neighborhood bar," Heck said.
Tim Muller, the president of the Cannonborough- Elliotborough Neighborhood Association, said it's not too much to ask business owners to close before midnight if they want to open in a residential area.
"We're in the midst of a great restaurant and bar scene, and a lot of residents like that, but I don't think they thought that a condition of that was that they'd have to live immediately next door to bar."