The city licensing commission is standing firm on its decision to close Man Ray, a popular Central Square nightclub, even though a state board has recommended that it remain open under different conditions.
James McDavitt, the licensing board commissioner, said that the board voted to reject the recommendation by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission because the club was found to have willfully violated the law, and that it should not be permitted to operate under any circumstances.
The licensing commmission held a series of hearings over the past summer and determined that Man Ray should be put under a five-month suspension, he said.
The dispute over Man Ray began last spring when local residents complained about loud noise and illegal parking problems within the vicinity of the club.
Hearings between the licensing commission and the alcohol commission led to a series of reform proposals for club policies. Among the options considered were requirements that the club change its closing time from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m., pay for special police attention on two nearby streets on Friday and Saturday nights, be served a 30-day suspended license, and be forced to close.
McDavitt said that the Man Ray club willfully violated the building code by changing from a family-style restaurant into a nightclub without receiving permission from the board and by renovating a kitchen into a dance floor without permission.
After examining the case, the alcohol commission last week recommended that the five-month suspension be removed and that the club remain open under different conditions, because it did not feel that the violations were intentional.
McDavitt said his commission, which is not as yet bound to follow the higher body's suggestions, will wait until for an anticipated second state hearing before resolving the issue.
The nightclub is linked to Fantasy's In-Town Campus and the second floor of another nightclub, the Latin Quarter.
Man Ray declined to comment on the alcohol commission's recommendation, but they have employed the services of an attorney and may appeal to Massachusetts Superior Court, McDavitt said.
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