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


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ALGHUSSEIN, JAMIL ASAD  2814 WINDTHRUSH DR CHATTANOOGA, 37421  Age at Arrest: 21 years old Arresting Agency: Collegedale Booked for Previous Charges or Other Reason(s) --- AVERY, JUDAH CALEB  1210 TOMAHAWK CIRCLE CLEVELAND, 37311  Age at Arrest: 20 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Boy Scouts Place American Flags At Veterans' Gravesites

Members of the Cherokee Council of the Boy Scouts of America placed American flags at veterans’ gravesites  Saturday  at the Chattanooga National Cemetery. (click for more)

Conserving White Flight To Private, Public Secluded Schools Is Shameful

If you really care about the kids of Hamilton County’s most distressed schools, then you’ll take help where you can get it. The question on your mind isn’t which political label someone wears. Anyone who shifts attention away from the critical issues facing public education and toward political labels is not really committed to public education. Their support for equitable, quality ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: School Board Suckered

Just eight short days ago, Hamilton County Commissioner Tim Boyd called a study on Hamilton’s County’s pseudo ‘socioeconomic desegregation’ farce as “the most far left, liberal document I have ever read. It does not represent the values of Hamilton County and I am insulted and disrespected by it." Then the School Board got so embarrassingly suckered  on Thursday  night ... (click for more)

Summertown Stops Sale Creek's Bid For A State Class 1A State Softball Title, 7-5

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Sale Creek had its sight set on making some softball history Friday. The Lady Panthers reached their first TSSAA state softball championship with a 3-1 victory over Cascade, powered by a Trinity Liner three-run homer on her 18 th birthday. A few hours later, they wanted to beat Summertown and set up a second title game for all the marbles. ... (click for more)

Silverdale Wins D-II-A State Softball Title

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Kaili Phillips got disqualified in the first inning of Thursday’s game against the Tipton-Rosemark Lady Rebels and nobody gave the Silverdale Lady Seahawks a snowball’s chance of winning that game. But they did. Nobody gave the Lady Seahawks much of a chance of repeating that feat less than 24 hours later in the winner-take-all final game, but once again, ... (click for more)