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Baltimore County Council Expected To Green Light Live Music In Catonsville And Arbutus

John Lee

It appears the live music ban in Catonsville and Arbutus will be lifted. 


Following a public hearing Tuesday, The Baltimore County Council is poised to make a change in zoning law to let songs fill the air legally in those two towns.




Catonsville likes to call itself Music City Maryland but live music is not allowed, thanks to zoning regulations.


Councilman Tom Quirk proposed legislation to let bars and restaurants get permits for bands.


At first there was opposition from musicians who thought bar owners would have to jump through too many legal hoops to get the permit. Quirk then stripped out most of the hoops and made the permits free.


At Tuesday’s hearing on the bill, Chris Powell was one of several people who said they showed up to oppose the bill then changed their tune when they read the changes.


Powell said, “Because so much of what was removed were things that we kept giving thumbs up should have been removed.”


The legislation applies specifically to Catonsville and Arbutus. But music technically is banned in other parts of the county as well. Jack Milani, who represents bar and restaurant owners for the Maryland State Licensed Beverage Association, told the council lifting the ban county wide would be good for business.


“If we can keep them in the county rather than having them venture to Anne Arundel or Baltimore it’s good because the dollars stay with us,” Milani said.


Quirk said for now Catonsville and Arbutus will be used to test the new music permit to see how it goes. Then it could go county wide later.


No member of the county council spoke Tuesday opposing the legislation. Quirk said he expects it will pass easily when the council votes on it October 7. 



John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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