Council Reviews After Hours Clubs

Council Reviews After Hours Clubs

By Ben Hall. CREATED Mar 4, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - They open after the bars close.  Many only operate on weekends from two to six in the morning.

The Metro Council passed laws years ago designed to regulate so-called after hours clubs.

But the Chair of Metro Council's Public Safety Committee, Karen Bennett, called a special meeting to ask Metro Codes Director Terry Cobb, if those laws are working.

The special meeting followed a NewsChannel 5 investigation that raised questions about whether the codes department was enforcing laws that oversee the clubs.

Codes Director Terry Cobb said there is not a problem with after hours clubs in Nashville, but no one in Metro is sure how many of them there are.

"There may be some out there, but we're not aware of them through the codes department or the police department," Cobb said.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates first reported that Dream Afterhours on 14th Avenue North had been operating without the proper permit, despite a law passed by the Metro Council requiring all after hours clubs to register with Metro Codes.

Police made numerous arrests involving weapons, drugs and alcohol at the club which was open only on weekends.

"We want compliance.  We want to bring them into compliance or we want them to cease operations," said Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson.

Metro Codes worked with police to shut down the club. 

But the chair of the council's Public Safety Committee worried there may other clubs like it in Nashville.

"If there are zero permits that really concerns me as a council member," said council member Karen Bennett.

In fact, 17 clubs got after hours permits in 2007, but after the council amended the law in 2008, zero clubs registered. 

Terry Cobb said the clubs simply changed what the called themselves, and declared they were private, to avoid the permit.

That what officials in the codes department say Dream Afterhours did, but police actually went undercover inside the club and found it was open to the public.

Metro Codes then went to court and got an agreed order that closed the club. 

Codes officials say they'll do the same thing if they receive complaints about other violent clubs, but right now they don't know of any.

Ben Hall

Ben Hall

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Ben Hall is a veteran reporter at NewsChannel 5. He has covered the state legislature, presidential campaigns and is presently part of NewsChannel 5's award-winning investigative unit.