Weston bans nightclubs
A new ordinance prevents these types of businesses from ever cropping up in the South Florida city, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. According to Mayor Eric Hersh, the decision is a “non-issue,” as Weston officials have always worked to keep the suburban city free of clubs and dance halls.
The primary motives for the ban include curbing crime and keeping out unruly crowds. Last year, instances of gunfire in or around South Florida nightclubs doubled, the Sun Sentinel reports. Also contributing to the ruling were concerns surrounding the use of alcohol and narcotics at clubs, along with the accompanying noise and traffic problems.
Luckily, though, school dances have gotten the green light, and everyone knows school dances are the epitome of fun. Activities at the local YMCA aren’t blacklisted, either. If, somehow, those don’t provide the rollicking good time Weston residents desire, they can head to neighboring cities like Davie or Pembroke Pines to let loose, legally.
In a decision that's drawing comparisons all over the internet to that famed Kevin Bacon-vehicle Footloose, the city council of Weston, Florida voted to ban nightclubs, dance halls and skating rinks, ABC News reports. Officials in the family-friendly community said they made the decision in an aim to reduce crime and big crowds.
Do nightclubs actually actually increase violence? A study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found factors that increase the risk of fights include "smokiness, noise, temperature, dirt, darkness, crowding, poor ventilation, the presence of competitive games (e.g., darts, pool), bouncers, and more male than female employees," according to a summary.
Taking the step to ban entire industries may seem excessive, but Weston is actually one of many towns to try and rid itself of seedier businesses. Holly Hill, Florida has mulled banning thrift stores, pawn shops, flea markets and other businesses from its main commercial street, the Daytona Beach News-Journal reports. Nearby Daytona Beach passed a similar measure last year.
In the suburbs of Jackson, Mississippi, officials banned tattoo, nail shops and other "undesirable" businesses in 2009, the Jackson Free Press reports. And Monrovia, California passed an ordinance earlier this month putting a 45-day moratorium on tobacco stores while the city mulls banning new head shops all together.
But the trend of banning businesses dates back longer than just in recent years. Plantation, Florida officials rid their town of check-cashing stores in 2000 by closing a zoning loophole, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
Still, at a time when struggling cities are forced to deal with declining revenues some are trying to hold on to any businesses that they can. The mayor of East St. Louis, Alvin Parks, has said for example, that nightclubs bring his city much-needed tax dollars, according to Stltoday.
Weston city has officially banned clubs, dancehalls, and even skating rinks within its city limits. Mayor Eric Hersh said the new regulation would be a "non-issue" because residents have long upheld that those businesses should not exist within the area.
"There aren't those uses in Weston, there won't be those uses in Weston, and we were never planning to allow those uses in Weston," Hersh told the Sun Sentinel. "This is something that we thought would protect the city."
Violence within South Florida clubs has risen and continues to pose safety threats to many South Florida cities. There were at least nine instances of gunfire where a night club was involved last year, more than double from the year before according to the Sentinel. There are also five reported nightclub stabbings in the area since 2002.
Residents have also complained about crowd and noise problems, and it is likely that the new regulations will cut down on both.
Commissioner Jim Norton confirmed that despite the lack of clubs and dance floors, dancing itself would not be banned. Teens will still be allowed to have school dances, meet at the YMCA, and can also enjoy a outdoor skating rinks if they so choose.