Berke Says He Will Present Legislation To Council To Clamp Down On Event Halls

Wednesday, August 21, 2013
- photo by Wes Schultz

Mayor Andy Berke, at a press conference in front of a problem-plagued Main Street "event hall," said Wednesday he will submit to the City Council proposed legislation "that will hold accountable the event hall owners and operators and will make event halls as safe as any other late-night establishment."


He said, “For the first time, we are holding property owners responsible, tightening the regulation on events, and imposing clear consequences for those who break the rules.

The proposed legislation will be presented to City Council next Tuesday.

Mayor Berke said, "Currently, event halls are effectively unregulated, and several have a record of violent activity."


He was joined by Councilman Moses Freeman, who chairs the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, as well as Police Chief Dodd and Public Safety Coordinator Paul Smith.


“We know that event halls, like the one behind me, operate without regulations,” said Mayor Berke, as he stood in front of 2510 Main St. at the location of the event hall commonly known as Boo Coo’s. 

“We know they are repeatedly the location of violence and we must do everything we can to make them safe for the neighborhood and city as a whole.”

“Previously these venues have operated without any consequences. This legislation holds owners accountable to the standards we expect from everyone else,” said Mayor Berke.

He noted that on Aug. 6, City Council’s Public Safety Committee held a public hearing regarding safety at event halls. Many citizens expressed their concern for regulation of these businesses, he said.

“I would like to thank the administration for working diligently to address this public safety issue,” said Councilman Freeman. “As chair of the Public Safety Committee, it was extremely important to open up the dialogue on this issue and I think we can all agree that it was valuable to hear from our citizens. They all had the same priority, to help them make their streets safer.”

“Safety at event halls has been an issue for years,” said Police Chief Dodd. “The mayor’s plan gives my officers the tools they need to do the job. As soon as this plan is approved by council, we will be able enforce this ordinance and hold accountable those individuals who are in violation of it.”

Event Hall Overview:

 

State laws regulate businesses that sell liquor, and city ordinances and the Beer Board regulate businesses that sell beer. 

 

Regulations applicable to businesses that allow alcohol on premises but do not sell alcohol have had a history of being unclear and ill-defined.

 

The lack of regulation has given event hall operators and owners plausible deniability when events become unsafe or disturb neighbors. 

 

Proposed Legislation:

 

Mayor Berke’s plan will repurpose an existing ordinance, section 25-46,et seq., governing “Special Gathering Permits”.  This ordinance had not been applied to event halls in the past.  The proposed changes state that any person or entity who is the owner or operator of an event hall or who organizes an event is responsible for obtaining a Special Gathering Permit if the event:

• Continues past midnight,

• Charges a fee of any kind,

• Has alcohol present on the premises, and

• Is attended by 50 or more people or is held at a facility with an occupancy capacity of 50 or more.

 

The new legislation also imposes upon event halls comprehensive obligations concerning safety and noise, like any other late night venue.  Event halls must now:

·         Close at 3:00 a.m.,

·         Report all fights and disturbances to the Chattanooga Police Department, and

·         Submit a detailed security plan prior to obtaining a permit.

 

The permit itself may be obtained by an organizer, owner, or operator, but the ultimate responsibility is tied to the facility and not any one entity.

 

Enforcement:

 

Owners and operators of event halls, as well as the individual event organizers, are jointly responsible for violations at an event.

 

Once there are two violations of the ordinance at a particular event hall within a one-year period, the site is no longer eligible for a Special Gathering Permit.

 

Violations include but are not limited to operating past 3:00 a.m., the occurrence of violence and disorderly behavior, or alcohol being consumed by minors on the premises. 

 

 

 


Event hall at 2510 E. Main St.
Event hall at 2510 E. Main St.
- Photo2 by Wes Schultz

Red Bank Police Say Topless Woman Ran From Man Who Threatened To Kill Her

Red Bank Police said a topless woman on Monday ran outside from a man who was threatening to kill her. Christopher Demetrius Lane, 20, of 4324 Shawnee Circle, was charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated sexual battery. Police went to 1105 Dayton Blvd. after a caller who would not give a name said there was loud screaming and what sounded like ... (click for more)

Former Sheriff's Deputy Nabbed In TBI Theft, Misconduct Case

Special agents from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have obtained indictments for a former Scott County Sheriff’s Department deputy accused of misconduct. At the request of 8 th  District Attorney General Jared Effler, TBI special agents began investigating Cody Scott Yancey on Oct. 16, 2014. During the course of the investigation, agents developed information that ... (click for more)

Physicians Thank Their Patients On Doctor’s Day

March 30 has been set aside as National Doctors’ Day since 1933 as a time to recognize the contributions made by our physicians. While the recognition is appreciated, our greatest satisfaction comes from caring for our patients.  For 132 years, the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society has been the physicians’ voice as we worked together to improve health of our community. ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Look At My April Garden

On this April Fool’s Day, as I take my monthly stroll through my virtual garden, there are gorgeous flowers and there are weeds, which appear to be trying harder than the flowers. So let’s see what we find before searching for “The Prize Egg” on Sunday. A FLOWER to the New York cab driver who told a young writer, “Always remember that everyone you meet knows something that you ... (click for more)

'Canes Edge Mustangs On Cox's Game-Winner In 7th

  Maybe it was just East Hamilton’s turn to win a tight game. After dropping 5-4 and 2-1 decisions to District 5-AAA rivals Bradley Central and McMinn County, respectively, the Hurricanes weren’t about to lose their third straight one-run decision in league play on Tuesday. So, Kyle Cox and Matt Milita, two of the team’s five seniors, decided to do something about ... (click for more)

Central Scores Early, Hangs On To Beat Red Bank, 7-6

Central baseball coach Glen Carter could finally breathe a sigh of relief. His Purple Pounders had bolted to a 7-0 lead in the first three innings of Monday's 6-AA skirmish with the Red Bank Lions and things were looking pretty good for those guys in purple. But it all came down to Red Bank's final at-bat.  The Lions sent eight hitters to the plate and scored ... (click for more)