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.


Latest Hamilton County Jail Booking Report

Here is the latest jail booking report from Hamilton County: ABERNATHY, GAVIN TREMYNE  613 CLARK STREET ATHENS, 37303  Age at Arrest: 24 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County CONTEMPT OF COURT --- ATKINSON, JANISHA SHOLONTA  3210 BROAD STREET CHATTANOOGA, 37410  Age at Arrest: 26 years old Arresting Agency: Hamilton County THEFT OF ... (click for more)

Alexander Says Senate-Passed Bill Will Help Fight Zika, Keep Government, National Parks Open

Senator Lamar Alexander on Wednesday voted for legislation that will provide $1.1 billion to combat the spread of the Zika virus, keep government and national parks open and fund Pell grants for college students. The bill will keep the government open through  Dec. 9 . Senator Alexander said, “Senate Democrats deserve no praise today for finally relenting and allowing ... (click for more)

Jimmy Templeton Will Be Missed At The City Yards

If only we had known about the Chattanooga City Council's planned retirement send off for Jimmy Templeton of Public Works, the room would have been filled to overflowing with his friends and admirers - including me.   I have had the honor of knowing and working with Jimmy since the 1970's (and also knew his father "Big Jim").  Jimmy was a strong right hand for whoever ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Vin Scully’s Last Time

It is said that the opening paragraph of my favorite ode to baseball should be the centerpiece for the canon of sports literature. It was written by former commissioner Bart Giamatti in "The Green Fields of the Mind,” a most marvelous essay to the last day of the regular season in the major leagues. “It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Beats Red Bank On Senior Night

It was Senior Night at Signal Mountain on Wednesday as the Lady Eagles played their last regular-season volleyball match at home before they host next week’s District 7-AA tournament and all went pretty much as planned. It was a battle of regular-season district champions as the 6-AA queen Red Bank Lionettes provided the opposition for the 7-AA winning Lady Eagles. Signal ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Wins 7-AA After Beating Notre Dame

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles took care of business at home Tuesday night as they swept visiting Notre Dame by scores of 25-15, 25-19 and 25-19 to claim first place in District 7-AA with a 10-0 district mark and 30-8 overall. Audrie Johnson had 11 kills while Kate Barry added 17 digs and 11 assists.  Nicole Terfloth finished with 18 digs and three aces for the winners ... (click for more)