Nightclub seeks extension on permits

Published 9:36 am Thursday, August 29, 2013

MURFREESBORO – It could be “sands thru the hourglass” as far as the extension of the beer and wine license for the Sandy Shore Lakeside Lounge, or even if the nightclub, located just north of the Meherrin River bridge off US 258, will even remain in operation.

Faced with the expiration of the nightclub’s temporary ABC license, owner Willie Boone went before the Murfreesboro Town Council at their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday requesting the extension of his conditional use permit beyond the deadline of Dec. 31, 2013.

Boone has recently run into some potential issues with the North Carolina ABC Commission that could affect the extension of his beer and wine license which is set to expire, according to the state ABC Commission website, on Sept. 6. It is not known, however, if the information on the Commission website is up to date.

Extending Boone’s conditional use permit beyond Dec. 31 would allow him to be able to get another ABC extension since the ABC Commission has already made two extensions to the club, but their rules state they will not allow more than two extensions in one calendar year.

Extension of the conditional use permit another three months to March 31, 2014 would allow Boone to qualify for a license, having had a use permit for 12 months.

“What I’m asking the council is if they would change that so that we could be licensed for a full year,” said Boone. “They (the NC ABC Commission) will not give an extension on our present license.”

During questions from council, Councilman Hal Thomas pointed out that the original conditional use permit stated that Boone have at least two sworn, uniformed police officers, or deputy sheriffs, with arrest powers in this jurisdiction on duty at the club during operating hours.

“Do you have them?” Thomas asked, pointedly.

Neither Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughn or Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe can appoint officers to work the club as part of a regular shift. Rowe, who was present at the council meeting, pointed that out.

Boone was asked to explain the seven 9-1-1 calls which Chief Rowe rattled off: a stabbing in which a person was transported to Roanoke-Chowan Hospital, a report of vehicle damage, assistance requested for an unruly patron, shots being fired, people with guns being reported inside the club, a second report of shots fired, and finally a report of fighting in the parking lot where those suspected of the fracas left the premises.  The chief further stated that recordings of the actual 9-1-1 calls were available for council to review if they wished.

Boone disputed some of the calls as bogus, pointing out there were three incidents of shots fired on the premises: twice by youthful patrons who have since been banned for life, and once by security – fired into the air – to clear the parking lot.

Eric Wooten, a member of Big Boy Security, based out of Greenville, gave his version of several of the police report incidents and pointed out that he had no major problems.

Wooten also stated his credentials as a security guard, including certification classes he has taken in Greenville.

After other citizens spoke before Council, Mayor John Hinton called for a vote on the extension of the permit.

Several council members expressed skepticism over granting the extension and Boone requested that the motion for the extension be tabled at this time and taken up again at the next council meeting when some of the issues in question are better fleshed out.

“You have until December 31,” Councilman Randy Roberts reminded Boone.