Kamenetz, Marks Voice Differing Reactions to Recher Nightclub Transition

Co-owner Brian Recher shared plans to convert the Towson concert venue into a nightclub on Wednesday.

Two government leaders offered different responses to the announcement of the Recher Theatre's planned conversion to a nightclub called Torrent Lounge.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz lauded the Rechers for their efforts, and voiced his support for the initiative.

"I am delighted that the Recher family plans to continue their tradition of reinvesting in downtown Towson with a half-million dollar project to create an attractive upscale nightclub," Kamenetz said in a statement. "I am confident that the Rechers will comply with all County rules and regulations and that this will be yet another positive addition to Towson."

Kamenetz previously criticized Recher Theatre follow fights that occurred outside the venue in September 2012. After the Baltimore County Liquor Board determined the Rechers were not responsible for the incident, the county executive stood by the decision.

Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman, said Kamenetz's statement reflects that he does not believe that an incident like the melee will repeat itself.

In contrast, Councilman David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican who represents Towson, fired off a statement expressing ire regarding the conversion soon after reading a Patch article that broke the story:

"I have been an enthusiastic booster for Downtown Towson over the past two years. 

There are so many positive developments, including new restaurants, businesses, and homes.  

But I am not going to sugar-coat what many of us learned for the first time [Wednesday]: given recent history, residents have every right to be apprehensive about a new nightcclub in the downtown core.  

Ten years ago, the Generation Xtremes Under 21 Dance Club dumped hundreds of kids onto the streets of Downtown Towson. Residents compared it to a riot zone.  

I won't tolerate that  and will do everything in my power to set higher standards for Downtown Towson.    

In the short term, I look forward to learning about how the management of the Recher Theatre will deal with issues such as outdoor loitering and public safety.  

Over the long term, I have been repeatedly said that we need more police officers in Downtown Towson. My constituents demand it. If the county won't provide police, then it's even more urgent that we create a Business Improvement District to supplement existing security. I have a committee exploring options, and want to speed up that process.  

Many of us defended the Recher Theatre after last summer's shooting. We called it an isolated incident, which it was.  

We didn't expect public thanks, but a heads-up about this change would have been appreciated." 

After meeting with the Rechers Thursday, Marks softened his tune. He said they had a good conversation, and that he learned the Rechers would have 15 people on staff working at Torrent Lounge.

"I'll have to take their word for it," he said.

Marks sent Patch the following statement:

"This afternoon, I met with police and representatives from the Recher Theatre regarding the proposal for a night club at the theatre. 

I have previously stood by the Recher family and applaud their longtime investment in the community. I will continue to keep in touch with the Recher family.    

I do believe that the regulation associated with a liquor license will lead to tougher enforcement of good standards at this business.   

As Councilman for the Towson area, my job is to ask questions and to expect that all businesses do their part to make Downtown Towson a safe place.  

Many residents are skeptical about public safety in the Towson core. We simply need more security, whether it's from the Police Department or an entity such as a Business Improvement District, which I still strongly support."

Marks said Thursday that the Rechers are "good citizens of Towson," but was dismayed by the lack of communication.

"I'm very upset that it came about the way it did," he said.

Kobler also noted that Rechers' decision to turn the concert venue into a nightclub was within the permitted use of its zoning and does not require further consideration from the county.

M. Sullivan February 14, 2013 at 09:38 PM
Kamenetz is clueless. We can only hope that Marks will be as vigilant as he appears.
Josh Glikin February 14, 2013 at 09:39 PM
Thank you, Councilman Marks, for being on top of this situation, for speaking honestly about it, and for your continued support for the health and future of Towson. I hope the Recher family continues to be a positive in Towson, not a problem. Personally, I'm going to miss the old place and appreciate that the Rechers kept it going for so long.
Steve Kolbe February 15, 2013 at 02:47 AM
Marks hits the nail on the head!
JPH February 15, 2013 at 12:03 PM
My feelings exactly.
Raymond Saunders February 15, 2013 at 01:38 PM
The difference is that Kamenetz had a publicist write his statement... the truth is probably somewhere in between the two reactions.
Bart February 15, 2013 at 02:19 PM
I cannot, for the life of me, figure out why the Recher's made the decision they did, and pandered to KK. Kamenetz, with his knee-jerk reaction, loudly blamed them for the melee in September, while Marks waited for the facts to come out, and supported them. Marks is working dilligently to raise Towson to a higher level, making new use of old, decrepit properties, and to make it a safer destination for people to go. The "Theatre" concept was unique in Towson. Now it will be just another nightclub.
D Schmid February 15, 2013 at 02:27 PM
Although the Recher's decision is "within the permitted use of its zoning and does not require further consideration from the county," I can only hope they will be considerate of their neighbors at the two condominiums across from the patio out back. I have a feeling the noise problem will get worse than it is. My feeling is that David Marks cares about Towson and the community and is not just interested in change or growth at any cost. I can't say the same about Kamenetz.
Bart February 16, 2013 at 02:02 AM
Classy, Stuts, real classy.
Steve Kolbe February 16, 2013 at 02:55 AM
Inappropriate comments like this help remind me why I infrequently comment on Patch.
mike gardiner February 16, 2013 at 03:03 AM
Marks defended the Recher Theater when they had a riot there last year. He is full of it. He takes every side of every issue. What a wimp!
Bob Hurley February 16, 2013 at 03:10 AM
Councilman Marks has led Towson down the wrong path on too many issues. He defended the Recher during last year's fights and stabbing. He zoned the Histori East Towson neighborhood to allow a bail bonds with a big ugly orange sign and he wants to allow a tattoo parlor in the old Futon store on York Rd. Enough already.
LalainMaryland February 16, 2013 at 09:34 AM
JDStuts-what gives you the right to put words in anyone else's mouth? When you can't seem to control your own?
Larry A. February 16, 2013 at 09:35 AM
no matter if its a concert hall or a night club you will always have a closing time and everyone will leave the building around the same time. A comment from Marks about the what happened 10 years ago is idotic.
Bart February 16, 2013 at 04:36 PM
Marks "defended the Recher during last year's fights and stabbing". Well, why not? They were found to be not at fault. Mike - you lost!
Nick Gestido (Editor) February 16, 2013 at 06:26 PM
A comment left by user JDStuts was removed because it violated the Patch Terms of Use regarding false or misleading information.
JDStuts February 16, 2013 at 11:28 PM
Huh? What comment are you talking about. I have nothing posted here like David Marks.
PMM49 February 21, 2013 at 03:45 PM
Please, no "Business Improvement District" security guards. On duty, Baltimore County Police should be the ones providing security in Towson every night. Theoretically, we are already paying for that. If the Police we have can't provide the security, let's talk about how they are currently tasked and staffed. If more need to be hired, and they probably will be given the nature of the development in Towson, then get it done.
M. Sullivan February 21, 2013 at 03:49 PM
Soon, they will need guard towers like the ones at Mondawmin. LOL!


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