BY JEFF CLARK
A public hearing was held August 15 for a proposed new nightclub ordinance that would shut down all clubs serving alcohol in Lowndes County by 1 a.m. With no one present to protest the ordinance, the Lowndes County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to pass the ordinance, which was suggested by Lowndes County Sheriff Mike Arledge. It was drafted by board attorney Tim Hudson.
Under the new ordinance, county nightclubs may not serve customers after 1 a.m. and the property of the nightclub or party must be cleared by 1:30 a.m.
The ordinance defines a nightclub as “Any establishment, including but not limited to, lounges, taverns, bars, dance halls, pool halls, community centers, multi-purpose centers and any other establishment that serves alcohol and/or beer and provides entertainment activities through any of the following: amplified music, whether live or programmed, dancing, table games and/or video games.”
Penalties for not complying with the ordinance could result in nightclubs losing operating permits for up to one year, fines and, or jail time.
Arledge also told the board at a previous meeting the ordinance establishes a grievance committee, which will include Arledge or his representative, County Fire Coordinator Sammy Fondren or his representative and a citizen of Lowndes County appointed by the board.
Arledge brought the issue before the board in April citing safety and lack of personnel as the key reasons for his request.
After sitting on the table for 30 days, the ordinance will be implemented in mid-September.