Mayor Berke outlines plan to control violence at event halls at a press conference earlier this year.
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -
Chattanooga Police shut down the event hall "Da Building" Sunday in the early morning hours after they discovered the event hall was operating after midnight without a permit.
Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's new Special Gathering Permit went into effect this past weekend dramatically reducing the amount of previously unregulated event halls operating throughout the city.
"This past weekend shows that the new Special Gathering Permit works," said Mayor Andy Berke. "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. For years, event halls had been unregulated and had history of violent activity.
This past weekend was the first official weekend for which event halls could apply for the Special Gathering Permit.
"Through these permits, we are now able to do the enforcement necessary to address this public safety issue," said Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd. "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."
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.
CPD shut down the Da Building because they had no permit and were operating past midnight without the Special Gathering Permit. The owner of Da Building was given notice of the violation.