Protesting against no dancing in Chesterfield

By Beth Danziger - bio | email

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Demonstrators turned up the heat, and the music, to protest why people can dance in some restaurants and bars in Chesterfield county, and not in others.

County Rib and Ale House and Mulligan's have both been fined in the last couple of months for operating nightclubs without a permit. That means they had alcohol, live entertainment, and dancing all at the same time.

To stay in compliance patrons can now only move to the music in their chairs.

"Even if people are standing like this with the band it's not allowed you can just stand there and dance that's all you can do," said Mulligan's employee Stacey Burks.

To get a nightclub permit that would allow people to dance in restaurant-bars when there is alcohol and live entertainment, owners have to get the OK through the police department. Both the businesses though have been denied in the past. And both have now been fined recently for violating the nightclub ordinance.

"If you don't like the law you can change but you just can't ignore," said Legal Analyst Steve Benjamin.

Benjamin says the best thing for these businesses to do is to lobby the board of supervisors for a change that would put the board in charge of granting permits not the police department.

"That way you would have a body making decisions that could consider a variety of factors not just law enforcement needs but the economic impact in the community quality of life for the community," said Benjamin.

He adds along with the protests, residents need to start going to meetings and writing supervisors to get people back cutting loose on the dance floor once again.

Now County Rib and Ale House will have a harder time than Mulligans getting a permit even if there is an ordinance change. Right now the area of that county isn't zoned for nightclubs.

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