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: BOLES, BLAKE LAMAR  418 SOUTH SEMINOLE DRIVE CHATTANOOGA, 37411  Age at Arrest: 21 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga SIMPLE POSS OF MARIJUANA --- CARTER, NATASHA LESHAY  723 N HOLLY STREET CHATTANOOGA,  Age at Arrest: 19 years old Arresting Agency: Chattanooga THEFT OF PROPERTY ... (click for more)

Crime Stoppers: 1981 Murder Of Johnnie Mack Salyer

Crime Stoppers, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office and The Cold Case Unit are seeking information on the murder of Johnnie Mack Salyer. On June 3, 1981, a steel drum was recovered from the Chickamauga Lake near 9000 Rocky Point Road in north Hamilton County Tennessee. Mr. Salyer’s body was found inside the steel drum. The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office ruled his death a ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Strong

The hearts, minds and prayers of Tennesseans, and of the entire nation, have been turned toward Chattanooga this month.  We are sickened and saddened by the senseless tragedy, and we grieve for the families of the five service members who were killed, Gunnery Sgt. Thomas J. Sullivan, Sgt. Carson A. Holmquist, Lance Cpl. Squire “Skip” K. Wells, Staff Sgt. David A. Wyatt and ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Dr. Palmer, You’re Toast

America is absolutely furious! By 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon there were 36,000 people who had petitioned the White House to extradite Walter Palmer, who is today the most despised man in all of North America. On the Yelp.com website, that promotes his dentistry business in Eden Prairie, Minn, over 6,000 had posted violent, vulgar and vicious notes and, for the record, 60 of them ... (click for more)

Ooltewah, Rhea Co. Picked To Win Region 4-5A Football

The Ooltewah Owls and the Rhea County Golden Eagles both advanced to the Class 5-A football playoffs last fall with Ooltewah getting eliminated by the Golden Eagles in the second round. Both teams entered that contest unbeaten, but Rhea County routed the Owls by a 47-14 final to advance. Rhea County went on to with 13 straight games before getting beat in the semis by ... (click for more)

Owls, Eagles Look Back Differently At 2014 Showdown

For the first time since they played in the second round of the 2014 Class AAA state football playoffs, a few Ooltewah and Rhea County players were together Wednesday at the Region 4-5A media day at The Bridge in Ooltewah. The Owls and Eagles, obviously, have polar-opposite thoughts on last year’s second round game in Evensville on a brutally cold Friday night. That’s because ... (click for more)