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by YES! Weekly staff

Items from across the Triad and beyond

NINTH STREET IN WINSTON-SALEM SET TO CLOSE

At its January 20 meeting, the Winston-Salem City Council discussed plans for the closure of a 492-foot portion of Ninth Street between N. Chestnut Street and N. Patterson Avenue. After reviewing the proposal, the public works department concluded that closing the street would not encumber any of the nearby property owners although it might restrict the access of some property owners on the street’s south side.

The closing of the street has been a point of contention for a few business owners, including Tom Skinner who owns nearby Skinner Warehousing. He is concerned that truck drivers may have a difficult time getting in and out of the neighborhood.

“We have 10, 15, 20 truck drivers that come out of our neighborhood every day,” he told the council at its December 1 meeting. “We’re afraid that if you close this it’s going to cause an inconvenience for many truck drivers.”

Skinner thinks the closing of part of the street will do more harm than good as far as cleaning up the area. “We’re not sure what you’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “If you really think that’s going to stop the homeless issue of wandering around and vandalizing you’re wrong. They’re just going to go around.”

GREENSBORO NARROWS SCOPE OF CLUB SECURITY ORDINANCE

Greensboro’s City Council considered a spate of amendments to the proposed club security ordinance Thursday, including raising the threshold for compliance to clubs with more than 299 patrons.

The council passed an ordinance requiring higher levels of security and training in nightclubs following a shooting downtown in November. Pushback from nightclub owners over the cost of implementation caused council to suspend enforcement of the ordinance while they considered its finer points.

Following a Jan. 7 meeting at which council considered several amendments, City Attorney Tom Carruthers presented a plan to increase the threshold for compliance and to expand the scope of establishments affected by the law.

Council member Zack Matheny, who chaired the special meetings of council at Mayor Nancy Vaughan’s request due to his work on downtown security over the years, pointed out early on that expanding the scope of the ordinance to include event centers and bars and restaurants open past midnight was not something he favored.

Several club owners, and members of the public, had pointed out that levels of violence at certain bars and restaurants in town exceeded that of most nightclubs subjected to the ordinance.

Jason Ferguson, one of the owners of Bar 180 on Spring Garden Street, said at Wednesday’s meeting that having armed security outside of his club could cause some college students to shy away from his door in favor of nearby competitors.

But Mayor Vaughan and Council member Nancy Hoffman, among others, supported Matheny’s position that expanding the scope beyond nightclubs was not something the city wanted to do.

Beyond the issue of scope, Carruthers proposed moving the attendance threshold for compliance up from 100 persons to more than 299.

The ordinance would only be in effect from Thursday through Sunday and cover the hours 9 p.m. to 30 minutes past closing. This was tailored to control expenses to regulated clubs as much as possible, Carruthers said.

The original ordinance contained language requiring clubs to monitor patrons in a 150-foot area outside of the facility, but after much discussion, led by Council member Marikay Abuzuaiter, regarding concerns over property rights and the distance between businesses downtown, it was suggested that the ordinance cover the facility, parking lots and waiting lines.

“We are focusing on the patrons of the club and not the members of the public,” Carruthers said.

Matheny noted that council was responsive to the feedback received from club owners and the public.

“We’re trying to craft something that makes sense and that shows we listened to everybody,” Matheny said.

Toward the end of the meeting Council member Yvonne Johnson made a motion to continue suspension of the ordinance until the council’s Feb. 4 meeting. The current moratorium would have expired Jan. 16. !

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