Richmond mayor unveils new nightclub ordinance

By Laura Geller - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond nightclubs could soon have new rules to follow. At tonight's city council meeting, Mayor Dwight Jones unveiled an ordinance aimed at curbing recent violence.

"This is a problem that we don't want to languish and pine. We want to address it," said Mayor Dwight Jones.

The new ordinance will apply to so-called public dance halls where the dance floor takes up more than ten percent of the facility. Under the new permitting process, both club owners and promoters would have to pass criminal background checks.

The new rules set mandates for security-- requiring at least three guards, including one off-duty cop for every 100 club goers.

"They should feel safe. They should be able to have fun and you shouldn't see violence within the clubs spill out onto the streets," said Richmond City Councilman Charles Samuels.

Clubs would have to reapply for the permit every year-- the application fee would be $100, with an additional $300 licensing fee. Charles Willis is representing club owners and promoters in their discussion with the city. He also wants the police chief involved.

"Chief, this is the things that we think would work at our establishment, not telling him how to do his job but how we can collaborate to be good neighbors together in making sure that we have a safe nightlife," said Willis.

There was no public comment at tonight's meeting but Jones emphasized this is a work in progress. Council will take suggestions at its safety committee meeting June 21. In the meantime, we're told the mayor's office will continue to talk with club owners to get everyone's perspective. 

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