I'm of the position that not only is the mix of residential and commercial use buildings part of the character and charm of Fells Point, but, of course, the owner of a building should be able to use the building as he wishes.
Within 4 blocks of my house, there are restaraunts, bars, marinas, a convenience store, warehouses, sundry small and large businesses, homes ranging from around $150k to upwards of $800k, parking lots, a market, liquor stores, and a strip club. And I love it!
Alas, the Fells Point Homeowners Association (the people who oppose everything) thinks:
"We're not taking any rights away from anyone," she says. "There's plenty of live entertainment in Fells Point. ... We can't handle much more."
Kay Hogan, a past leader of the association, agrees, saying that Fells Point has enough bars, certainly on streets where people are trying to make homes.
"We don't want to eliminate the funkiness and variety," she says. "We're in a transition now, and I'm not sure you're going to see a lot of street mixing from now on. It's just a fact of life."
An opposing view:
Generally, the task force plan would scale back existing commercial areas and prohibit more retail from creeping onto predominantly residential streets.
The hope, say planners, is this approach will encourage new businesses to set up shop on dense commercial corridors such as Broadway and Thames - the only streets the task force would allow taverns and restaurants with live entertainment, possibly the most contentious aspect of the plan.
Even on those streets, the task force would permit bands or disc jockeys only on the southernmost tip of Broadway and on certain parts of Thames.
Pat Russell, who owns Koopers, Slainte and Woody's Love Shack, all bars on Thames, is frustrated that the plan wouldn't fix his inability to bring an Irish band to his pub, even though the competition on the street can.
Though late last week it appeared as if the task force might be willing to allow more live music on Thames Street after all, Russell was still having a hard time understanding why people who chose to live in Fells Point would want to stifle its business culture.
If you don't want to live amongst businesses, bars, etc, then move to White Marsh.