NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Norfolk City Council has revised a proposal on conditional use permits for restaurants and banquet halls.
It was a full chamber during Norfolk City Council’s meeting Tuesday evening with residents and local business owners coming out to speak on the city’s proposal to require conditional use permits for all businesses that sell alcohol and how this affects local performers on the way they’re classified.
There’s been a lot of concern from DJs and entertainers on what their role would be in the new zoning change. At the start of the meeting, however, city council revised the proposal.
Entertainers were originally referenced in the zoning ordinance under an umbrella of live entertainers, which are comedians, dancers, spoken-word, and others.
That’s no longer the case after city council announced that they’ve removed that clause from the proposal at the beginning of the meeting. The revision also now only refers to new restaurants and banquet halls that want to serve alcohol so they would need to apply for a conditional use permit.
That process typically takes 3 months and costs $1,200.
This does not affect existing restaurants that serve alcohol without a CUP.
The revision also removes the two-year conditional use permit limit for nightclubs. In the original proposal, nightclubs would have to apply for that permit every 2 years. Now, if they have a permit, as long as it’s not revoked, they’re in the clear.
Many were pleased by the removal of live entertainment, but there is still a big concern for business owners over the conditional use permit requirement, with some saying it makes it hard for people who want to open a business in the city.
Tenille Morings, who owns Boss Queens Soul Cafe, took the podium and voiced her concerns over the CUP process.
“I changed my business model and went to a full-service dining establishment and was required to endure the cumbersome, tedious and super unfair CUP process here in Norfolk,” Morings explained.
Careyann Weinberg of Slow Dive Gallery also expressed her apprehension.
“I do just want to make sure that guys understand how hard of a process that is, the restrictions that one has to go through for that,” Weinberg stated.
Prior to council voting on the revised ordinance, Mamie Johnson and Danica Royster addressed a packed chamber.
“I think this reset is necessary and I thank you for the consideration of my colleagues. Bringing the right parties to the table as we develop a policy that is fair and equitable to shape this city’s nightlife and entertainment,” Royster said.
The proposal passed at the end of the meeting with a 7-1 vote.
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