Event Halls Go Silent As New City Ordinance Takes Effect

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chattanooga event halls, which police said were largely unregulated and spawned a spate of violent activity, were silent over the weekend as the city's new Special Gathering Permit went into effect.

Lacie Stone of the mayor's office said, "This past weekend, rules surrounding Mayor Andy Berke’s new Special Gathering Permit went into effect, dramatically reducing the amount of previously unregulated event halls operating throughout the city."

She said no entity applied for a Special Gathering Permit for Friday or Saturday night of this past weekend. 

After conducting a sweep of event halls on Friday night, Chattanooga Police Department officers "found no activity at event halls in violation of the ordinance," she said.

Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, one event hall (Da Building) was found to be operating after midnight without a permit. Police shut down the Da Building, and the owner was given notice of the violation.

Mayor Berke said, “This past weekend shows that the new Special Gathering Permit works. In the past, event halls have operated without accountability, and we have repeatedly witnessed violence at their events. We are off to a good start, taking a step towards ensuring the safety of those who attend or live near an event hall, as well as the city as a whole.”

In August, Mayor Berke proposed legislation designed to address public safety at event halls throughout Chattanooga. His office said, "For years, event halls had been effectively unregulated and several had history of violent activity."

Taking into account implementation and the five-day waiting period for approval of the permits, this past weekend was the first official weekend for which event halls could apply.

Police Chief Bobby Dodd said, “Through these permits, we are now able to do the enforcement necessary to address this public safety issue. When we found an event hall in violation at 1 a.m. on Sunday morning, with alcohol present, we had the tools in place to shut it down before a problem could occur.”

The Special Gathering Permit ordinance was presented to the City Council and approved on Sept. 3. The new ordinance repurposed an existing ordinance, section 25-46, et seq., that had not been applied to event halls in the past.  Now, 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.

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.


1 Person Killed In Wreck On I-75 In Whitfield County

One person died in a crash on I-75 in Whitfield County on Saturday. The wreck happened near exit 348 in the southbound lane. Traffic was backed up for miles after the accident. (click for more)

Over $30,000 Of High-End Men's Clothing Stolen From Hardwick & Co. In Cleveland

Cleveland Police said over $30,000 worth of high-end men's clothing was stolen from Hardwick & Co on Oak Street. The burglary happened sometime Friday night. Items stolen included name brands such as British Belt Company, Dubarry Azores Shoes, Jack of Spades Pants, John Peter London Pants and button down Shirts, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Tailor Byrd Button Down Shirts. ... (click for more)

Save Coolidge Park - And Response (2)

Last Monday morning while at work a good friend messaged me concerning a matter that I had not heard anything about dealing with Coolidge Park and its future. Apparently that night the City Council was to read an ordinance that would allow the mayor to start negotiations with the relocation of the Medal of Honor Museum. This ordinance would enable the city to lease approximately ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Looking For A Wife

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, is a really cool place. I tried to buy a huge mounted buffalo head in an antique store there one time until I found out the shipping charges were four times what the head was worth. But suddenly my rapt attention is riveted on Coeur d'Alene again because a dazzling social experiment is taking place this very moment at a plush resort in north Idaho. Several ... (click for more)

Lookouts Drop First Game Of Second Half In 8-2 Loss To Jackson

The Jackson Generals scored five runs in the third inning on their way to an 8-2 win over the Chattanooga Lookouts. The loss was the Lookouts first of the second half.   Jackson got off to a good start by scoring a quick run in the first inning. Chattanooga annswered in the bottom of the frame with a Mitch Garver single.   The floodgates opened in the third inning ... (click for more)

Prep Football Jamboree is Aug 12-13 at Finley Stadium

Highlighted by a match-up of state semifinalists in Baylor and Notre Dame, the 57th annual Prep Football Jamboree is set for Aug. 12-13 at Finley Stadium with five games each night. Baylor (10-3) reached the D-II AA semis before losing to eventual state champ Brentwood Academy, while Notre Dame (10-4) reached the D-I 3A semis before losing to eventual state champion Alcoa. ... (click for more)