Berke presents plan to regulate event halls - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Berke presents plan to regulate event halls

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Fights, stabbings, shootings, and murders.

The Chattanooga Police Department has its hands full with event halls that breed violence.

Police haven't had the authority to shut nuisance party spots down, until now.

On Wednesday Mayor Andy Berke presented a plan to regulate event halls.

Two strikes and they are out. He says it's time the close the loopholes, and all late night venues follow the same rules.

2510 East Main Street, was the scene of a recent shooting and the backdrop to the mayor's plan to get a handle on the violence.

"The violence at these types of establishments must stop," said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

According to the Chattanooga Police Department, nearly a dozen event halls across town have been home to fights, shootings, and murders.

Mayor Andy Berke says it's because they operate without regulations. That could soon change.

"If you're the owner and you allow somebody to have a party at this location, you're now responsible for what goes on there," said Berke.

Berke's plan will modify an existing ordinance to include event halls.

It would require the owner, operator, and organizer to get a special gathering permit if the event continues past midnight, charges a fee of any kind, has alcohol present,and is attended by 50 or more people.

"Under this ordinance now all three of those, the people throwing the party, the people who own the premises, the people who operate it, equally accountable for what happens at these buildings," said Berke.

Event halls must also close at 3 a.m., report all fights and disturbances to police, and submit a detailed security plan to obtain a permit.

Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd, says Berke's plan will give his officers the tools they need to legally shut an operation down.

"It will create a little more work for them on the front end but if it eliminates the need for follow up investigations or actually dealing with violence that some of these places create, it's worth it," said Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd

Those who will have to vote on the new plan, agree.

"We will hear it that committee and move it to the council and get passed as fast as possible," said Moses Freeman, Chattanooga City Council.

The beer board will be in charge of issuing permits and hearing appeals.

Permits will cost $30 per event. After two violations in a year, an event hall is no longer eligible for a permit.

The Chattanooga City Council is expected to vote on the mayor's plan next week.

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