Chesterfield eases dance permit restrictions for night clubs

By Melissa Correa - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Chesterfield County is easing up on permit requirements for bars that offer live music and dancing.

You'll soon be able to hit the dance floor where you couldn't before.

If you had a rap sheet, no matter how long ago, you probably would never qualify for a nightclub permit with Chesterfield Police.

But now, after some updating, it's all about when you were convicted of a crime.

Joe McGinn remembers it perfectly, the day dancing at Mulligan's died.

"It was February 27th," he said. "They said that we could not allow dancing because we were not allowed this permit."

It used to be you could dance or have live music, but if you wanted to do both, you needed a permit.

Mulligan's didn't qualify because the owner committed a crime when he was 18-years-old and Mulligan's could not re-apply.

"If you look at the wording of it, it really was designed to keep strip clubs out of Chesterfield County," said McGinn.

Joe says, they needed the permit for six hours of business a week.

When bands would perform and people would dance.

"It hurt us tremendously," he said. "We've probably lost over $200,000 in sales."

Attorneys for the sports bar asked the board of supervisors to amend the policy.

Last week it was changed.

Now, when applying for a nightclub permit all managers must not have been convicted of a crime within 10 years of the application.

And they can re-apply.

"There's a process that's going to take a little time to get the wording changed so that the police department is aware of it," he said.

The stage is set, dance floor polished, ready for the permit that should arrive around the first of the year.

"We're thinking of having a little foot-loose party," said McGinn. "I think that would be kind of fun."

The new rules also say a permit can be denied for fraud, mis-representation or false statements within the application.

The permits are approved through the Chesterfield Police Department.

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