July 2007 Highlights

July was a quiet month in terms of final Council action on major policy matters.  Work continued mostly through public hearings and committee discussions on topics like the proposed nightclub ordinance.

Work continues on proposed nightclub regulation ordinance:     The draft nightclub regulation ordinance had its first full public reviews during July, starting at the July 9 Public Safety Committee meeting.  As I noted in last month's report, the intent of the proposal is to promote a safer environment for nightclub staff, patrons, police, and the general community, by helping to reduce the number and severity of violent incidents.  Fortunately, serious incidents at clubs have been rare, but they have been growing more common.  We need to stop that trend.

In response to the draft proposal, several nightclub owners, staff, and patrons appeared at city meetings to protest, out of concern that the ordinance could be used arbitrarily as a form of censorship for musical performances.  Certainly, nothing could be further from the intent of the proposal, and the original draft has been amended to respond to those concerns.  Following further public hearings held July 23 and 24, I have drafted additional clarifying amendments to respond to questions raised there.  The amended draft ordinance will be reviewed again at the August 13 meeting of the Public Safety Committee.

To recap, the main items within the proposal are the following:

  •  Establishes a special business privilege license that nightclubs must obtain in order to operate in Winston-Salem;
  • Lays out basic standards for those operations (including external lighting, noise, litter control and security) to promote safe operations;
  • Establishes a "violence reduction program" with standards and training to be provided by the Police Department for nightclub managers and staff;
  • Provides tougher security standards for nightclubs which decline to participate or which fail to meet safe operation standards; and
  • Sets up a process for suspending or revoking the license of any club which continues to create real public safety problems.

Downtown plan adopted:     The City Council did take final action at our July 16 meeting to approve the updated Downtown Area Plan.  That plan should continue the important long-term work of revitalizing our city center as a cultural focus point and economic engine for our broader community.  By the time the revised plan reached the Council in July, the various community stakeholders had been so thoroughly consulted and worked into the process that its adoption was non-controversial.  All who are interested in our downtown area are invited to review the newly revised plan on the city's website, www.cityofws.org

National Night Out scheduled for Tuesday, August 7:     The annual celebration of neighborhood efforts in support of public safety will be held as usual this year on the first Tuesday in August, August 7.  Neighborhood watch groups around Winston-Salem will gather in the early evening hours for potluck dinners and discussions with Winston-Salem Police Department officers.  If your neighborhood does not have a meeting scheduled, you are invited to the citywide event, being held this year at the West Salem Civic Club, 110 Hutton Street, from 6 to 8 p.m. on August 7.

Other gatherings in the Southwest Ward will be held by the residents of Healy Towers, 3450 Healy Drive, 6 p.m.; by residents of the Keating Drive neighborhood at the Greek Orthodox Church, 435 Keating Drive, 6:30 p.m.;  and by Bolton Street neighborhood residents at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1416 Bolton Street, 7 p.m.