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Entertainment Hearing Decision

Entertainment Hearing Decision

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Published by masslive

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Published by: masslive on Feb 10, 2012
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05/23/2012

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CITY OF SPRINGFIELDLAW DEPARTMENT36 COURT STREET, ROOM 210SPRINGFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS 01103-1699(413) 787-6085
 ___________________________________ In re:)Public Hearing on Proposed Amendment )To the Rules and Regulations governing )Entertainment Licenses) __________________________________)
REPORT OF HEARING OFFICER ON PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO THE CITY OFSPRINGFIELD’S RULES AND REGULATIONS PURSUANT TO M.G.L. c. 140 § 181AND§ 183ABackground
On or about December 8, 2011, per Mayor Domenic J. Sarno’s (“Mayor”) request, a notice was published in The Springfield Republican for public hearing to be held on December 23, 2011. The purpose of the public hearing was to solicit public comments with respect to the Mayor’s proposedamendment of City of Springfield Rules and Regulation for Entertainment Licenses issued pursuantto M.G.L. 140, §181 and §183A that were promulgated on April 7, 2009, in the following manner:
E. LATE NIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
1. Holders of an alcohol pouring license such as a restaurant, tavern, hotel, club and general-on- premises (M.G.L. c. 138, section 12) license and an entertainment license must provide theentertainment licensing authority a written request to offer entertainment pursuant to said license for any entertainment to be held after 1:00 a.m., otherwise all entertainment under said license mustcease by 1:00 a.m. Licensees must seek a Special Late Night Entertainment Permit by submittingan Application (copy attached as Exhibit B) to the Office of the Mayor and provide the followingdetails:
a. The type of entertainment to be offered;b.Allowable capacity of the premises as referenced in the Certificate of Occupancy;c.The condition and set up of the premises;
 
d.Measures licensee will take to prevent the over service of patrons consumingalcoholic beverages; ande.Security measures to be taken in order to prevent danger to the publicsafety, health or order.
2. After reviewing the documentation submitted by the licensee, the Mayor or his agent may rejectthe licensee’s request for a special permit to offer late night entertainment if he/she finds thatincreasing the entertainment hours would adversely affect the public health, safety or order, in thatthe increase in entertainment hours cannot be conducted in a manner so as to: 1)prevent a publicnuisance; and/or 2) (a) protect employees, patrons, and members of the public inside or outside the premises from disruptive conduct, from criminal activity, or from health, safety or fire hazards; (b) prevent an unreasonable increase in the level of noise in the area caused by the licensed activity or caused by patrons entering or leaving the premises; or (c) prevent an unreasonable increase in thelevel of pedestrian or vehicular traffic in the area of the premises or an unreasonable increase in thenumber of vehicles to be parked in the area of the premises.3. If the Mayor at his discretion requires the licensee to hire a police officer and/or fire detail(s)during the operation of late night entertainment, the licensee shall be solely responsible for all costsof such detail(s).4. This section shall not apply to licensees whose income from food is 40% or greater of its grossreceipts (e.g. family restaurants).
Procedural Posture
On December 23, 2011 at 5:30 p.m. Attorney Alesia H. Days appeared as Hearing Officer  by appointment of Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. Attorney Stephen J. Reilly, Assistant City Solicitor,and attorney for the Springfield License Commission, was also present. The following Exhibitswere entered for consideration:Exhibit A: Notice of Hearing;Exhibit B: Proposed Amendment to City of Springfield Rules and Regulation for Entertainment Licenses;Exhibit C: Copy of Written Testimony given by Captain C. Lee Bennett of the SpringfieldPolice Department;Exhibit D: Arrest Statistics for Sector E1-Metro/South End for the months of September – December 2011 highlighting “Out of Towners” arrests (Entered by Captain C. Lee Bennett); Exhibit E: Spreadsheet of Incidents occurring at Bar/Night Clubs from January 1, 2011-December 8, 2011;2
 
Exhibit F: Letter requesting continuance of hearing authored by Attorney Daniel D. Kellydated December 21, 2011;Exhibit G: Electronic Mail in opposition of proposed amendment received from Springfieldresident, Kathleen M. Plante, dated December 22, 2011.Exhibit H: Letter in opposition of proposed amendment authored by Carlos Gonzalez,President/CEO, Latino Chamber of CommerceExhibit I: Letter in opposition of proposed amendment authored by Ryan McCollum-Owner, RMC Strategies dated December 23, 2011;Exhibit J: Letter in opposition of proposed amendment authored by Jeffrey S. Ciuffreda,Executive Director-Springfield Chamber of Commerce;Exhibit K: Electronic Mail in opposition of proposed amendment received from LicenseeVictor Bruno dated December 27, 2011;Exhibit L: Special Late Night Entertainment Public Hearing-Sign in Sheet for speakers
Findings of Fact
1.The current City of Springfield Rules and Regulation for Entertainment Licenses issued pursuant to M.G.L. 140, §181 and §183A promulgated on April 7, 2009 provides in § I (2)the authority for the Mayor to change or add to the terms and condition of a license,including times of operation, after notice to the licensee.2.Commissioner William Fitchet of the Springfield Police Department testified that as a resultof the disorder in the downtown Entertainment District, cruisers are routinely pulled out of their assigned sector to assist-leaving sections of the City without adequate police protection.3.Commissioner Fitchet further testified that the disorder in the downtown EntertainmentDistrict puts an additional strain “on an already strained budget”.4.Captain C. Lee Bennett testified that from September through December 23, 2011 over 50%of the related arrests made in the entire district between the hours of 10 p.m. -4:00 a.m. werein the Entertainment District; most arrests occurring between the hours of 12:00 a.m. – 4:00a.m.5.Captain Cheryl Claprood testified that there is a heightened concern for officer safety withinthe Entertainment District because many of the arrests involve persons associated withgangs, involve weapons and violent offenses, including murder.3

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