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.



Copies Of Remaining Chattanooga Photo Books Available At Zarzour's Restaurant; By Mail

Remaining copies of the Chattanooga Photo books are available at Zarzours Restaurant on Rossville Avenue off Main Street. It is near Fire Hall #1. They include the Remarkable Stokes Collection, Railroads In and Around Chattanooga, and Paul Hiener's Historic Chattanooga.  All were published by Chattanoogan.com.  and printed by College Press at Collegedale. The ... (click for more)

Police Blotter: Man Digs Up Old Gun In His Yard On Wheeler Avenue

A Wheeler Avenue resident told police that he was doing yard work and discovered a handgun buried in his yard. He said the firearm did not belong to him. Police could determine that the firearm was a firestorm 1911 government 45 AUTO but were unable to read the serial number do to the rusty condition of the gun. Police submitted it to the Chattanooga Property Division for safe keeping. ... (click for more)

All I Want For Christmas Are Digitized Newspapers For 2018 - And Response

With recent news of the Public Library investing in their own StoryCorps-ish effort with the Chattanooga Memory Project, it got me thinking about digitizing local newspapers again.   It's been two and a half years since the Chattanooga Public Library committed to sending out a request for proposals to digitize the local newspapers they have on microfilm. Back in ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Last You’d Suspect

Back when Bill Lenz launched Christ the Rock Community Church, the idea was to spread the gospel in Menasha, Wisc. but Bill and his brother Bob soon found they were dealing with people in trauma situations – drug and alcohol addiction, poverty, the homeless, and suicide prevention. As the church grew, they started an offshoot ministry called “Solid Rock” that deals with suicide ... (click for more)

Vols' Pruitt Is A "Ball Coach" Who Won't Forget HIs Roots

KNOXVILLE -- He is still the guy that taught them how to play kickball and officiated their dodgeball games. He's still the guy that wore a Fort Payne Wildcats football T-shirt to class every day and carried them over his shoulder across the playground if they got hurt. Before he rose to prominence as a college football coach, Jeremy Pruitt was a PE teacher at Wills Valley ... (click for more)

UTC Women Fall To Virginia Tech 64-44

The Chattanooga Lady Mocs started off the current basketball season with three straight losses, including a 60-30 whipping at Green Bay on November 11. Things had gotten better since that time as the Lady Mocs came into Sunday afternoon’s home game with Virginia Tech on a six-game winning streak, but the train jumped off the track, the local girls had one of their poorest performances ... (click for more)