City Solicitor Seeks New Nightclub Regulations

If it’s a late night a restaurant has music and dancing, then it really isn’t all that different from a nightclub, according to City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher.

The only problem in Chelsea is that the city does not issue nightclub licenses, but that might be changing.

Kathryn Bolden, Yaisa Romero and Gabriel Rosado during Chelsea High School’s 2022 graduation ceremony.

“We do not have a nightclub use in our rules and regulations or the city ordinances,” said Fisher. “But we do allow dancing by patrons, and that’s a nightclub. When you have music, whether it is live or a DJ, you have dancing by patrons, that’s a nightclub and we want to issue new rules and regulations if you have that amusement and entertainment as to dancing by patrons.”

At last week’s Licensing Commission meeting, Fisher noted that the city has already ruled that staff should not be dancing with patrons. She said the city will be crafting new rules and regulations and holding a public hearing on them with license holders.

“We just think that we want police there,” said Fisher. “It’s getting a little crazy at these restaurants at night and they all spill out into the public ways with tons of music and noise going on disrupting the neighborhood. We are going to try to set up some rules similar to other cities and towns that if you want an amusement and entertainment license, they are going to have to comply and come before (the commission) every year for that particular use.”

Fisher said the nightclub sublicense will operate under the establishment’s existing license.

“We need to start enforcing this so we know who is security (at the establishments), and there are going to be a lot of recommendations before you if they wish to have dancing by their patrons,” said Fisher.

In other business, Fisher said there may also be some changes to taxi license registrations coming before the City Council.

“Our ordinances are very strict, it’s not the rules and regulations, it’s the ordinances that say in order to have a taxi company, you have to have an office in Chelsea,” said Fisher. “That’s not the way taxis work anymore, it’s all by telephone and some of the dispatchers are even drivers. We may be proposing before the City Council and before (the Licensing Commission) a more relaxed renewal process for hackneys.”

Fisher also noted that the application deadline for businesses wishing to apply for one of five new on-premises liquor licenses Chelsea received as a result of the U.S. Census may be extended until September. To date, she said the city has only received one application.

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