NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) - Newport News City Council voted in approval of a new nighttime lounge on Jefferson Avenue in the Oyster Point area Tuesday night.
However, not everyone was in support of the lounge. Some were concerned the business could bring its share of trouble to the neighborhood.
"I just think that Newport News can do so much better," said Vice Mayor Herbert H. Bateman, Jr.
Bateman asked for a deferral and Mayor McKinley L. Price agreed.
"I think one of the problems I have is that we haven't had the chance to look at this area other than project by project," said Price.
There were concerns about the lounge owner's connection to the building's previous owner, who police say had a documented tax dispute with the City of Hampton. Other concerns were voiced about what an entertainment establishment would mean for this corridor and the possibility of it adding crime.
"I don't have a problem with the establishment," said Art Casey, whose business neighbors the proposed lounge. "I have a problem with the location."
Earlier in September, the City's Planning Commission voted not to recommend the project to Newport News City Council 6-1 despite the building having been empty since 2006.
But Tuesday, there was enough support on the council to push the proposal through.
"As we become larger, every city has a night life," said Councilwoman Tina Vick.
"The times are changing, people are changing, and they want something to do other than sit in their homes," said Councilwoman Sharon Scott.
WAVY.com spoke to the new owner, Crystal Sawyer, who said she's grateful and overwhelmed by the Council's decision -- 5-2 in favor of granting her a conditional use permit.
"I just want the people of Newport News to look forward to a nice upscale establishment," said Crystal Sawyer. "While they were going through the process of debating, I was just thinking, if you don't think this is the appropriate area, what is the one you're referring to?"
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