published Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

Chattanooga's new 'gathering' permit produces one violation notice

Chattanooga's new Special Gathering Permit went into effect over the weekend, and police shut down one event hall and gave the building owner a notice of violation, Mayor Andy Berke's office said today.

No entity applied for a Special Gathering Permit for Friday and Saturday night of this past weekend, a news release stated.

After conducting a sweep of event halls on Friday night, Chattanooga Police Department found no activity at event halls in violation of the ordinance. Late Saturday night/early Sunday morning, however, one event hall, “Da Building,” was found to be operating after midnight without a permit. CPD shut down the Da Building, and the owner was given notice of the violation.

“This past weekend shows that the new Special Gathering Permit works,” said Mayor Andy Berke in the release. “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 effectively unregulated and several had history of violent activity.

“Through these permits, we are now able to do the enforcement necessary to address this public safety issue,” said Chattanooga Police Chief Bobby Dodd in the release. “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.”

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