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Prince George’s County Council Passes Legislation Regulating Dance Clubs

Owners say the legislation could mean last call for some dance halls and clubs.

New regulations for Prince George’s County dance halls and night clubs may help solve crime in some areas, officials say, but owners say the rules could mean some clubs will go out of business.

The county council this week unanimously passed legislation that will, among other things, require club owners to submit security plans for clubs, raise licensing fees from $300 to $1,000 a year, and give the Department of Environmental Resources the right to suspend or revoke applications or licenses. Clubs would also be prohibited from operating between 2 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Karen Toles (D-Dist. 7) of Suitland introduced the legislation after an outcry from residents and police, who said dance halls were a magnet for crime in the community. The legislation could be enforced as early as this summer.

Officials from the county police department and state’s attorney's office praised the legislation as an aid to cutting back on crime in communities where clubs exist. According to Prince George’s County police, since 2007, about 40 murders have occurred near clubs in the county. Communities have complained of crimes, fighting and littering near the clubs.

“With increased security comes increased accountability,” said Prince George's Police Chief Mark Magaw. “We have to look at this issue to make a decision.”

But club owners and promoters said they felt railroaded by the legislation.

“I think the bill needs tweaking,” said Doc Hayes, who owns Club Elite in Temple Hills. “We feel like [the legislation] is a broad brush stroke when you say that our businesses are operating outside the law.”

Hayes said the additional requirements, including licensing fees and penalties, could force some clubs to go out of business. In the past, he said, officials had been more open to discussing legislation with the club and dancehall community. This time, however, he said the industry was shut out.

“I strongly encourage the council to step back and allow the industry to weigh in,” he said.

Ron Motter, a former club promoter, told the council that clubs bring hundreds of jobs to the community and give youth something to do.

“[The] only thing that happens is that [clubs and club-goers] get pushed to another place,” he said.

Alphadog July 21, 2011 at 12:51 PM
This is a good move. We don't need businesses to attract thug-rat criminals and wanna be criminals in our communities. Let the clubs be pushed out of Prince Georges County. There are many other ways to have our youth engaged in constructive activities. Now it's time for the council to address house parties, so law abiding peaceful home owners will not have to further endure excessively loud music blasted from homes overflowing with a mass of intoxicated party goes who openly sell alcohol to minors, engage in open drug trades, urinate on lawns, destroy property and cause general mayhem. Give the police and sheriff better laws to keep this vermon and unacceptable activity out of our communities.
Tea L July 21, 2011 at 04:20 PM
It isn't the clubs per se. It is the type of club that attracts thugs. If you are a law abiding person who is responsible but likes music and dancing, you probably don't go somewhere where thugs go as well. It is about alcohol enforcement and not serving intoxicated persons too in other clubs.
MAH 1464 July 21, 2011 at 04:57 PM
That is a great idea to stop the house parties that get out of hand.
MAH 1464 July 21, 2011 at 04:59 PM
It is kind of weird how the clubs that play country music don't seem to have anyone shooting each other like the hip hop clubs do, hum I wonder why ???? Funny thing to is most people that listen to country all own guns but never seem to think that they need them when going out for a good time, huh makes one wonder why ???
Alphadog July 21, 2011 at 05:22 PM
MAH 1464 I agree with you. My partner and I went to a large countlry dance venue in Lanham regularly many years ago. We enjoyed the line dancing. There was a buffet with coffee tea and soda and you could purchase alcohol. The area was already going down hill but it was enjoyable. I don;t recall anyone ever getting too loud or rowdy. There weren't ever any fights and there was never any gun play. All sorts of folks of all colors attended and they all seemed friendly to me. I would still be going to this venue if my work hours hadn't changed.
APART OF THE SOLUTION July 21, 2011 at 05:26 PM
Crime is going to happen regardless. I'm sick of people in the community blaming the crime on this person and that reason. I don't care where you live there will be some sort of crime whether petty or criminal. The thing is to educate our youth and stop throwing them into sterotypes because of where they live or how they dress. I'm a female member of the military and when I'm in uniform I get a completely different level of respect from people versuses when I'm out of uniform. It seems like out of uniform I'm sterotyped as just another young black girl with a child, but in uniform I get praised and thanked til all glory and the cows come home. There are people in this world that want to blame things on everyone but themselves. You want to call people thugs and say that the music that they listen to causes the violence but what have YOU done to help turn around the communities that have the underpriviledged youth. A friend of mine & I were just talking about this. Always willing to have the answers but never willing to help with the process of the solution. Whoever is throwing the house party, they pay a mortgage every month the same as you do/did and have the right to do what they please in their home and on their property. BE APART OF THE SOLUTION!!!
Sharp Shooter July 21, 2011 at 06:03 PM
Bowie isn't a community of 'underprivileged youth' by any means. If you are young and living in Bowie, for the most part, you aren't suffering a whole lot. My job, as a parent and citizen of the community, is to lead by example and encourage/reward positive behavior. When in public I'll hold the door open for EVERYONE, regardless of age or race. It's only the hoodlum-wanna-be's with their pants half down that don't say thank you but I still respond with a 'your welcome'. I don't consider a grumpy nod a 'thank you'. Maybe their just too busy looking like a bad-ass to show any manners. You'll also always get a 'Thank You' for holding the door open for anybody in my family. If you want to hold an annual birthday party or whatever - have at it - I can tolerate the hip-hop music for the evening. There are some houses, however, where it appears the residents are running private clubs 3 to 4 nights a week - these houses are where the problems come from.
Jason Ford July 22, 2011 at 07:59 AM
I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by Fedex. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores.I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, http://BuzzSave.com
MAH 1464 July 22, 2011 at 11:17 AM
I agree the county council is a joke.
MAH 1464 July 22, 2011 at 11:20 AM
Come on "underpriviledged youth" are you kidding me, we the tax payers do everything but clean up after them when they have to use the bathroom. It has nothing to do with race it is about be people raising their own youth properly with some respect for others. It is time for people to stop relying on everyone else and take care of their own.
Byrdie August 10, 2011 at 01:16 PM
Wow this is terrible, racism still exists people, alphadog and MAH1464 shows how racist they are. Well ima put it like so, I'm a police officer. A black police officer with dread locs and tattoos everywhere. I go out every night cause my life and days are not promised. Alot of people make a living off of clubs, unfortunately most people in the black community of pg county where not born with silver spoons in their mouth. So yea move all the clubs out the county take away one of many peoples outlets, so they can start using that club time to break into peoples houses. Cause and effect. Remember that. Action reaction. You take from the people and the purple will find a way to take from you. I feel this is a bad move. But who am I. Another black man voicing my oppinion. And oh yea I seen violence in gun shed through every aspect of life. Even COUNTRY MUSIC! So know ya facts and statistics before y'all comment. And I don't listen to rap all like that. Who god bless no man curse. You can learn from every culture but when u feel ya life with hate your the worst person in life.
Alphadog August 10, 2011 at 01:38 PM
Byrdie-It's not about race, it's about behavior. It's not about socioeconomic status either- there are many poor people who are outstanding citizens who would never want to go to this type of club and would not allow their children to go there either. I do not for one moment believe you are really a police officer. I will take your threat about committing B&E's to heart, now that you are unable to get to the clubs in DC(perhaps you are under age?). I have guards at my house- they are named Smith and Wesson. Hope you find a better 'outlet'.
MAH 1464 August 10, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Byrdie I was born in this County with no spoon in my mouth either, has nothing to do with race, Went to PG county schools from K-12 so most of my classmates were black and some are the best friends I have ever had, so once again people like you have to resort to the race card to try to put one down. Time to grow up, you on the other hand try to say you are a police officer, are you kidding me, the police officers I know all know how to spell properlly. If you are a police officer you sure did not do it by going to college must have bee nsome sort of affirmitive action program, your the type that hangs out with Jack Johnson down at the Tick Tock. On second thought they should keep all of the clubs open, you people are doing a great job of killing each other now. Keep it up it saves room for other criminals in our jail system. I am sure you are proud of the way the people have ben behaving in Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and even England, thats right your people, so bring on as you typed "the purple and try to take from me" I would shoot anyone any color that comes in my house or threatens my kids.
Marina1 October 31, 2011 at 12:51 AM
Its about time something was done! most of the dancehall clubs dont bother to i.d and sell drinks to your underage childten!! and worse of all they smoke pot right out in the open in these clubs!!! We dont want them in our community let running all night!!
1blessedmale November 02, 2011 at 01:58 PM
It is alot of racist people on here, WOW
Alphadog November 02, 2011 at 02:46 PM
No, it's not about race,it's about character. Our community does not want businesses that attract a criminal element, and criminal behaviors.
Mac203 November 02, 2011 at 10:54 PM
Fortunately, the council made a decision! Fortunately, the people of Prince Georges County have the option to vote for or against the elected officials responsible for this legislation. A very large portion of the patrons who attend these clubs live in PG and are over 18 years of age. I'm eager to see what will happen next election.

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