The Bar and Restaurant Ordinance proposed by the City of Greensboro gives the “City” tremendous power to determine the punishment that is imposed for an act of violence.
Councilor Justin Outling pointed out in the January 5 discussion that a bar or restaurant could do everything right and still use violence on their premises, which would make the ordinance into effect.
Regardless of what security plan is presented to the city after a murder, it must be approved by the city before the bar or restaurant can reopen. The ordinance gives the city the so-called “flexibility” in approving the security plans and sets minimum standards. However, there is nothing in the regulation to say that the proposed “safety plan” will be approved if the minimum standards are met.
The ordinance also says nothing about which employee or employees of the city will sit as judges and juries over a company covered by this ordinance, and city council members have different opinions about who will make the decision.
Councilor Marikay Abuzuaiter said: “Police and fire brigade.”
Outling said, “I have no idea.”
And Outling asked, “What are the criteria by which a plan would be evaluated?”
When asked what happens if someone is arrested for an act of violence but the prosecutor drops the charges, Abuzuaiter said, “I don’t think you thought so. Basically they are closed for 30 days. If the prosecutor doesn’t bring charges, will they be closed for another 30 days? “
She also noted that some grocery stores now have ABC consumption licenses on-site so the city could “close down a grocery store that can serve beer”.
If the owner of the establishment that sells alcohol and tries to comply with the regulation disagrees with the “city” decision, how would that be challenged and who would hear this appeal?
The ordinance seems to give the city the power to shut down any bar or restaurant with a qualifying act of violence by making the security plan so strict that the company cannot survive, or more simply, by not approving a security plan and closing the business force to stay closed.
The ordinance gives the city the power to select winners and losers from among the establishments that offer alcohol for consumption by requiring only some to meet the minimum standards set out in the ordinance and others to go well beyond the minimum standards.