- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dance halls in Prince George’s County will face stricter safety regulations and will pay more to license their clubs after the County Council voted Tuesday to adopt new regulations.

The Prince George’s County Council voted unanimously to adopt emergency legislation that provides for closer monitoring of the clubs by county agencies. County Council member Karen Toles, District 7 Democrat, sponsored the legislation as a way to prevent violent crime in and around various nightclubs and dance halls in the county.

Among the new regulations is the requirement of a police background check of anyone who applies for a license to operate a dance hall. Anyone who has been convicted of a felony or violating certain federal or state laws will be denied a permit.

The cost to obtain a license for a dance hall was raised from $200 a year to $1,000 a year.

Clubs will be required to submit security plans that cover the venues and areas surrounding the buildings up to 1,000 feet away.

Prince George’s County has a storied history with nightclubs, and police say they have linked dozens of homicides over the past decade to various clubs in the county. In 2007, police and County Executive Jack B. Johnson shuttered nine clubs after a series of homicides.