Event Hall Ordinance Passes

Reported by: Caitlyn Jones

Edited by: Caitlyn Jones
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Updated: 8/28/2013 9:45 am
        Get a permit, or get shut down.
        That's the what a new ordinance will enforce for special gatherings in Chattanooga.
        The city council voted unanimously for it in it's first reading on Tuesday.
        "I think they've gone a million steps forward and it's something we've been needing to do for a while," said Councilwoman Carol Berz.
        The ordinance requires a permit for any event that goes past midnight, attendees are paying, liquor is served, and there is no liquor or beer licence.
        The permit has to be obtained by the owner of the facility and the event organizer.
        Ray Hunter owns an event hall know as Blues Ques in East Chattanooga where multiple disturbance calls and shootings have been reported.
        He maintains that just the event planner should be responsible, not the business owner.
        "If you rent a space to somebody and sign a contract with them.," Hunter said to the council during the meeting, "It's up to that person and they're the one liable for whatever goes on at that time."
        He wasn't convincing enough to the Council's Chairman Yusef Hakeem.
        "Because of activities at your location and others, we found it necessary to change that ordinance to have persons who are owners be responsible and not be able to wiggle out and say 'This was not my event, I wasn't there.' If people are dying at or near your location, that is a problem," said Hakeem.
        Hunter was told it wasn't the appropriate time to discuss the ordinance since it had already passed.
        Mayor Andy Berke's Chief of Staff Travis McDonough say this is a victory towards safer streets in Chattanooga.
        "I think a unanimous vote tonight on the special gathering permits ordinance is a testaments to how important public safety is in the community.  And to the fact that Mayor Berke has it right when he puts public safety first," said McDonough.
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