A downtown Bangor nightclub with a violent history will post “no loitering” signs outside, have employees monitor patrons outside, and hold office hours to hear neighbors’ noise complaints and other concerns about the business.
Patrick Brann, who owns Half Acre Nightclub and the property at 190 Harlow St. where it’s located, developed six different ideas over the past month for mitigating noise and addressing other late-night disturbances outside his business.
His property, home to both Half Acre Nightclub and Diamonds Gentleman’s Club, has experienced a pattern of violence and noise in recent years. On April 24, an altercation outside the nightclub escalated to one person getting shot and wounded. Another shooting took place there in August 2021, and another man was killed there in a 2020 stabbing.
Brann developed the ideas after city councilors last renewed an essential license to keep his business operating — a special amusement license, which allows the club to offer music and dancing — but on the condition that he develop ways to mitigate noise and other disturbances.
City councilors saw promise in some ideas and were skeptical of others. Ultimately, they thanked Brann for the proposal.
“We don’t want you to fail,” Councilor Joe Leonard told Brann during a Monday meeting of the city’s government operations committee. “We want you to be a good-quality business owner in the city, but we do have to meet the concerns citizens have at the end of the day. I like this path we’re on right now and I look forward to seeing how this develops throughout the year.”
Most notably, Brann said he’s working to lease the city-owned parking lot outside Half Acre and have employees oversee nightclub patrons outside to ensure they stay quiet and peaceful.
The city offered Brann a draft lease agreement, which he forwarded to his insurer for approval, City Solicitor David Szewczyk said. Brann said he plans to sign the lease once his insurer approves it and he and the city work out final details.
City councilors asked for that lease to be ready for their approval during their Jan. 9 meeting.
Brann also proposed buying and installing “no loitering” signs in the parking lot where patrons tend to congregate as they leave, which would give his employees and police grounds to encourage people to move along.
In addition, Brann said he’d offer “office hours” when he’d be available to meet with neighbors to discuss noise complaints or other concerns. He would establish an email address specifically for neighbors’ questions, concerns and complaints as well.
“I want to have a vehicle for communication,” Brann said.
Brann also considered adding a message asking people to be quiet as they leave to plastic water bottles the nightclub hands out. Councilors were skeptical that the measure would make a difference, but Brann said it was “a small piece of the package.”
“This is a positive step in the right direction, but I don’t know that installing signs and labeling water bottles will by itself mitigate the issues we’ve heard,” Councilor Cara Pelletier said.
Brian Hamel, who has lived in the nearby Franklin Place Condominiums for 10 years, asked if a sign on the door could be more effective.
“If you had a prominent sign as you came into and left the building saying, ‘Please be cognizant of noise in the parking lot – we have neighbors and want to be good neighbors,’ I think people might read that more than the fine print on the water bottles,” Hamel said.
Brann also proposed adding raised crosswalks to the parking lot that would act as speed bumps to dissuade patrons from “peeling out” as they leave, but Szewczyk said those might lead to more noise, particularly from large vehicles.
Councilors decided not to ask Brann to add raised crosswalks immediately, but said that could be an idea to revisit if other measures prove ineffective.
Brann also suggested adding a sound wall in the parking lot between the nightclub and neighboring apartment building, but a city sound engineer determined that would be ineffective, Szewczyk said.