City gets tough with party spots - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

City gets tough with party spots

Posted: Updated:

Albany city commissioners are taking on event centers they say are not much more than 'dens of criminal activity.'

They tentatively denied applications for alcohol licenses for two of the facilities after hearing complaints from neighbors, police, and code enforcers.

Today commissioners heard testimony from law officers and other officials who witnessed numerous illegal activities at one of these event centers, and that was without an alcohol license.

So not only did they decide the license would be a detrimental to the community, but it also prompted them to take a closer look at how event centers are monitored.

Traditionally event centers are rented out for birthday parties, family gatherings and other social activities.

But commissioners in Albany are faced with relatively new problems when it comes to these buildings, more of these event centers are popping up that have a nightclub environment.

"What's already going on without an alcohol license is pretty detrimental to the neighborhood and to the citizens of Albany," said City Attorney Nathan Davis.

Today an alcohol denial hearing was held for two event centers, Club Cristal Bar and Lounge and D. J. Bo's Spot. Residents and law officers testified about what they witnessed at the centers.

"I thought the evidence was overwhelming it would be a detriment to the community," said Albany Commissioner Christopher Pike.

Police say they raided an event at D. J. Bo's March 29th and found drugs, alcohol, underage drinkers, gang members, and what appeared to be an area for nude entertainment.

Not to mention, residential streets in the area were packed with people, making it difficult for officers to park their vehicles which could be a danger in an emergency.

"The concerns a lot of people in the area had was that it was a determent to their safety," said Pike.

Most of the event centers in Albany are in commissioner Pike's ward, which is why he's taken the lead to try to get these under control, and make sure the neighborhood is safe.

"You could in theory have a house that's on fire and call 911, and you can't get a fire truck down the street, so that's something we looked at when we voted to deny this application," said Pike.

Commissioners discussed how to monitor establishments like this more closely whether they have alcohol license or not.

"What we've decided from this is that we need to look at the ordinance and make sure we have more of a monitoring situation where we can go in and check and make sure people are not engaging in illegal activities such is what we had at this particular facility," Pike said.

Those applicants were hand delivered notices of this hearing, but both failed to show up. 

Now city staff with bring back some recommendations on how we can monitor, and enforce and make sure those facilities are operating within the guidelines of the law. 

 

Copyright 2011 WALB.  All rights reserved.