Following a resolution agreement reached last month between the City of Chattanooga and the owners of the Blue Light nightclub on Station Street, there may be more than one security presence inside and out. of the site in the future.
The agreement was signed by Chancery Court Judge Jeffrey Atherton on October 26, according to Blue Light attorney Scott Maucere. He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press by phone on Friday that club owner Brian Joyce sent a check for $1,000 as part of the deal and contacted Beer Board inspector Sgt. Jason Wood will start working on a security plan for the club.
Wood confirmed to members of the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board on Thursday at the end of their regular monthly meeting that Joyce had reached out to him to start talking about the new plan. The Blue Light case was not on the agenda on Thursday, but came up at the end after Acting Chairman Vince Butler asked if there was an update on the closely aging case. one year.
“Mr. Joyce has contacted me to begin developing a security plan,” Wood told the board.
Wood said he’s optimistic about his work with the venue and told the Chattanooga Times Free Press by phone Friday that he hopes to discuss adding more security inside the Blue Light and maybe of the capacity limitation, but is also concerned about the outdoor patio where he saw customers who had walked through the front door interacting with non-customers on Station Street.
“I saw it myself,” he said. “It gave me an ulcer. They could hand anything – guns, drugs, whatever – to the person inside.”
The Blue Light opened in August 2021. Station Street has become the city’s premier adult entertainment venue and is known for the many restaurants and bars nearby. Blue Light is located inside the Chattanooga Choo Choo Complex in a space formerly occupied by the Songbirds South Concert Hall and now sits under the Songbirds Foundation space. It is opposite the Westbound and Regan’s Place clubs and the newly opened Boneyard Bar.
In November 2021, the Chattanooga Beer and Wrecker Board found the blue light in violation of six separate violations of the code which allegedly took place between September and October 31 of the same year. At the time, the board voted to repeal the bar’s beer license, which Blue Light appealed, referring the matter to Court of Chancery where he was heard by Judge Jeffrey Atherton in June.
Violations include a staff member being intoxicated while on duty, selling alcohol off the premises, operating a disorderly place and failing to report a disorder to the police.
The case was heard in part by Atherton in June. After two days of testimony, he was put on hold due to a crowded court case, and Atherton recommended that both sides seek a settlement through mediation.
A agreement in principle was reached in July, but required approval from the Beer Board, whose members said during his presentation that they felt he did not go far enough.
The Beer Board gave a list of demands, including all Blue Light management and staff who receive training under the city’s approved program, that Blue Light should remain violation-free for 12 months and that the venue work with the city, namely Wood, on a tighter security project.
All are part of the new deal, Maucere said. He said the 12-month period began with the signing of the agreement on October 26. He added that he and his clients have wanted to work with the city to create a detailed safety plan for nearly a year.
“We are pleased with the resolution,” Maucere told The Times Free Press by phone Friday. “That’s what we always wanted.”
He said a key part of the deal is that Chattanooga Police Chief Celeste Murphy, who took office in February, approved the authorization of uniformed police officers on duty and off duty working as security on Station Street. Under the previous administration, furloughed officers could not work as paid security personnel at companies that sold alcohol as part of their core business.
Wood said the change will allow off-duty officers to work at such businesses, but it will also allow on-duty officers, known as “targeted deterrence details”, to patrol parts of the city that may have higher reported crime rates.
Maucere said it was a positive decision.
“We’re ready to move forward and work with the city,” Maucere said. “It allows us to do things we couldn’t do before, like having uniformed and off-duty officers on Station Street.
“Uniformed police deter bad behavior and at the end of the day we want people to be safe.”
Email requests for comment sent to Joyce and City Attorney Phil Noblett were not answered Friday.