- Keystone XL pipeline still on hold after State Dept. decision
- Fla. man charged with killing 16-month-old son to play Xbox undisturbed
- Drones from the deep: Pentagon develops ocean-floor attack robots
- Michigan mayor slaps back atheists’ try to erect ‘reason station’ at city hall
- PHILLIPS: Where is the conservative establishment?
- 7.5-magnitude earthquake shakes southern Mexico
- ISTOOK: IRS “wants to throw us in jail,” says tea party leader
- Easter woes: Chocolate costs soar, becoming ‘unaffordable’ luxury
- Michaels craft chain confirms hackers hit 3M customers
- Special Forces’ suicide rates hit record levels — casualties of ‘hard combat’
P.G. dance hall legislation clears first hurdle
Dance hall legislation passed this year by the Prince George’s County Council easily cleared its first legal challenge last week when a violation for “public dancing” issued against a Temple Hills venue was upheld.
But an attorney representing the venue, Plaza 23 Event Center, said his client was cited for lack of a dance hall license, which the county has made impossible to obtain. He plans to appeal the decision in a circuit court.
The appeal hearing Tuesday was the first held under the new law and shed light on how the county has been enforcing the legislation, which council members endorsed as a way to curb violence at local nightclubs.
Two out of three members of the newly formed Administrative Board, which rules on violation appeals, voted to uphold the contested violation.
Members in favor of upholding the violation included a representative of the police department, which lobbied for the dance hall legislation, and a representative of the Department of Environmental Resources, which is ultimately in charge of enforcing the new code.
A representative from the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department voted against upholding the violation. “It’s the outcome I expected,” said attorney William Sherman, who represented Plaza 23. “The administrative board is going to do the biding of the County Council.”
Mr. Sherman argued that on Nov. 17, the date Plaza 23 owner Dan Richardson was cited for a violation, it was impossible to have had a current dance hall license because applications had only been made available the month prior and review of all applications takes a minimum of 90 days.
While the dance hall bill was passed in July, license applications were only made available in October, according to testimony during the hearing. Since that time, no new dance hall licenses have been granted and the county has ceased to renew old licenses.
Mr. Richardson, who previously obtained year-long licenses in 2009 and 2010, said he went to renew his old dance hall license July 6 but was told the county was no longer renewing them because of the anticipated legislation. The dance hall bill was approved by the council 13 days later.
“At that time we had been directed to hold up because the new law was coming up,” testified Raymond Harris, a DER business license supervisor. “I informed the applicant no action would be taken against anybody until the new format was available.”
Mr. Richardson was in the process of completing his application for a new license when inspectors visited Plaza 23 on Oct. 21.
“We saw dancing taking place at the establishment,” testified DER code inspector Bill Edelen. However, inspectors did not issue a violation at that time.
Inspectors instead arranged a meeting with Mr. Richardson at his venue Nov. 17 and gave him the violation notice then.
“The violation directed them to cease all public dance activity until they had obtained the proper dance license,” said county attorney Anne Manger.
The ruling means that save for the two venues whose old dance hall permits are still valid, Prince George is a dry county in regard to dancing.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at email@example.com.
- D.C. Council sues Mayor Gray, CFO over budget autonomy law
- D.C. Council sues Mayor Gray over budget autonomy law
- Guilty verdict in execution-style killings of 2 women, 2 children in Lanham
- Minority parties see power grab for D.C. vote
- Two bodies found under bridge near Southeast D.C. highway
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- Immigration still on hold: Boehner's office
- Supreme Court weighs appeal to concealed-carry gun laws
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- PRUDEN: When a bored president just 'mails it in'
- Nancy Pelosi washes immigrants' feet in humble Holy Week act then promotes on Twitter
- BRUCE: Obama deliberately emboldening America's enemies
- Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.