NORFOLK, Va. - During a Tuesday afternoon worksession of the Norfolk CityCouncil, city officials announced they will be taking steps to holdthe businesses, including the nightclubs, inside Waterside FestivalMarketplace more accountable.
The city will be revoking the current "umbrella specialexception permit" that covers all the businesses in Waterside withvery few regulations. Then, the shops, restaurants andnightclubs in Waterside will be required to apply for a new, morestrict special exception permit with the city.
This is an effort by the city to have more control and oversightover the businesses in Waterside after several weeks ofincreased attention on the safety and security in DowntownNorfolk.
Vice Mayor Anthony Burfoot said, "If they can't play by thoserules, then we will move to revoke that special exception."
Norfolk officials say the move would bring the Waterside barsunder the same strict rules as other bars in the city, like thosealong Granby street that have to submit to spot inspections by theNorfolk Bar Task Force.
WAVY.com captured undercover video recently when the task force,which was created by city council, shut down Indra Lounge on Granbyfor alleged overcrowding and fire and health hazards.
Tuesday during a presentation by Cindy Hall, Deputy CityAttorney and head of the task force, Councilman Paul Riddickblasted her.
"The one you took over on Granby street, Indra the other night,it's alleged that you guys are extremely heavy-handed and rude andthat's what concerns me. It seem to me you can do your job withoutbeing rude, without being heavy-handed," scolded Riddick.
He went on to tell Hall, "I guarantee you people would be afraidto come out and say something about it for fear ofretribution."
Hall flatly denied Riddick's allegations.
Hall said, "I understand you getting complaints from the peoplewho are committing the violations. In fact we are hearing thereverse. We are hearing the bar task force is not out thereenough to ensure public safety."
Hall said bar and restaurant managers are telling her team theywelcome the inspections because they help insure public safety.
Hall also invited Riddick and any other member of council tojoin the task force on one of their night-time sweeps ofnightclubs.
Hall said, "I think your perceptions would change. It's areal eye-opener out there."
A man is facing attempted abduction charges after police said he tried to grab two juvenile girls and exposed himself.
A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of more than 2,000 EMTs and paramedics who were abruptly laid off over the weekend.
The Portsmouth City Council has set a public hearing for Tuesday, Dec. 17, to talk about a plan to bring a casino to the city.