If it’s late at night, a restaurant has music and dancing, then it’s really not that different from a nightclub, according to City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher.
The only problem in Chelsea is that the city does not license nightclubs, but that could change.
“We don’t have nightclub use in our rules and regulations or city ordinances,” Fisher said. “But we allow customers to dance, and it’s a nightclub. When you have music, whether it’s live or with a DJ, you have dances by patrons, it’s a nightclub and we want to enact new rules and regulations if you have that fun and entertainment that to dance by customers.
At last week’s Licensing Board meeting, Fisher noted that the city has already ruled that staff shouldn’t dance with customers. She said the city will develop new rules and regulations and hold a public hearing about them with licensees.
“We just think we want the police there,” Fisher said. “It gets a little crazy in these restaurants at night and they all spill out onto the public streets with tons of music and noise disrupting the neighborhood. We’re going to try to put in place rules similar to other cities and villages that if you want an amusement and entertainment license, they will have to comply and come before (the commission) every year for that particular use.
Fisher said the nightclub’s sublicense will operate under the establishment’s existing license.
“We need to start enforcing this so that we know who the security is (in establishments), and there will be a lot of recommendations in front of you if they want to have their customers dance,” Fisher said.
In other cases, Fisher said there could also be changes to taxi license records before the city council.
“Our ordinances are very strict, it’s not the rules and regulations, it’s the ordinances that say to have a taxi company you have to have an office in Chelsea,” Fisher said. “That’s not how taxis work anymore, everything is done by phone and some dispatchers are even drivers. We may propose to the city council and to (the licensing commission) a more relaxed renewal process for hackneys.
Fisher also noted that the application deadline for companies wishing to apply for one of the five new on-site liquor licenses that Chelsea received following the US census could be extended until September. To date, she said the city has only received one application.