Meridian Star

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February 18, 2013

Proposed ordinance targets unruly nightclubs

TUPELO, Miss. —  

Tupelo officials say eliminating "bring your own bottle" nightclubs could help control littering, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and assaults.

The proposal would require a city beer permit or a state alcohol permit for establishments that serve alcohol and provide entertainment, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported.

"For me, it's safety," said Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton. He noted a 2011 New Year's Day shooting at a McCullough Boulevard nightclub.

Both the state and city permits require background checks, specific security measures — especially for large crowds — and annual registration. The permit fee is $25 a year.

The proposal is on the City Council's study agenda Tuesday. So is an ordinance that would let patrons bring their own alcohol to some restaurants without a beer or liquor license, as long as it accompanied a meal.

March 5 is the earliest the nightclub ordinance could come up for a vote.

The ordinance includes exemptions from several security measures for businesses that operate without trouble and whose business is primarily focused as a restaurant.

Events hosted or sponsored by a governmental entity or tax-exempt charities are exempted from the proposed ordinance; however, those groups still have to go through the permitting process to sell alcohol.

The proposed ordinance appears to be redundant for the restaurateurs who already hold state alcohol or city beer permits, said Voz Vanelli, whose restaurant includes a bar with live music.

"Their concerns are already covered by existing statues and fees, from what I understand," said Vanelli. "As part of my permit, I'm responsible for making sure I provide a safe environment."

 

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