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Friday, August 25, 2006

New Club Regs In West Seattle

Posted by on August 25 at 12:19 PM

There’s a good story in the West Seattle Herald today about how Mayor Greg Nickels’s proposed new nightclub regulations would affect bars and clubs in West Seattle. Under the proposed regulations (which would apply to any establishment that serves liquor and has “amplified music” after 10 pm), Salty’s on Alki would be considered a “nightclub,” prompting Salty’s owner Gerry Kingen to vow to fight “tooth and nail” against the regulations.

As the ordinance is written now, Salty’s, which has live music two nights a week and closes by 11:30 p.m., would be considered a nightclub.

“We have a trio band and a piano player,” said Kingen. “To call us a nightclub is just ludicrous.”

James Keblas, director of the Mayor’s Office of Film and Music, told the Herald the new nightclub license would “do away with ‘subjective Good Neighbor Agreements’ and instead impose the new operating standards to solve problems between residents and club owners.” However, those good neighbor agreements have been aimed primarily at bars (like Twist in Belltown) and restaurants (like Slices pizza on Alki, which has no live music and closes at 10 pm) that would not be affected by the club regulations. Which raises the inevitable question: What problem, exactly, is Nickels trying to solve?

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I want more clubs in West Seattle... especially since my partner and I are moving over there next month.

When Guppys was open (one of the few gay bars not within the Pike/Pine/Broadway ghetto) we actually went out more. A little amplified music would do some parts of the city some good.

As a side note, does "amplified music" include Karaoke? I want to see how that works when Nickels himself is shutting down some of those venues around the city.

Excellent question! I thought that the regs were aimed only at the clubs as a response to very specific public safety/violence issues. The timing, make-up of Nickel's commission and even the press releases coming out of the Mayor's office seem support that take (see the Mayor's 11/2 press release titled "Mayor rolls out 3-step approach for safer nightclubs" and states that it is in response to several high-profile incidents of violence).

I think the problem he's trying to solve is people don't like his frickin tunnel plans, so he's just sour and growly as a result and takes it out on the clubs and anyone who resists him.

Apparently I'm wrong, but I thought the new regs would apply only to clubs with doors or windows that came within one block of a residential development or alley.

If that were the case, the pier-end location of Salty's restaurant would be exempt from the new regulations.

i know he's only doing his job, as dictated by the mayor, but exactly when & why did james keblas decide to start trying to destroy the nightlife in this city?

given that he co-founded vera, this comes off as rank hypocrisy. that city job is sure to pay better than a non-profit, but i'm not sure it's worth losing your soul.

Cut James some slack. You might not agree with the measures that they've proposed, but I've seen nothing in their actions that make me believe that they're not earnest in their desire to make the nightclub scene safer and thus, the nightlife industry healthier.

If you insist on blaming someone, blame Larry Culp or Kyriakos Kyrkos and other owners cut from the same cloth that refuse to take the steps necessary to run a responsible business.

Reasonable steps, like, oh, I dunno...

Not play rap & hip-hop and attract "that" crowd?

Which raises the inevitable question: What problem, exactly, is Nickels trying to solve?

The 'Every single square inch of Seattle isn't like a sleeper suburb yet, which is what my beloved condo developers want' problem.

Are you high, or is that paranoia natural? Why would developers want to kill nightlife? It's one of the few amenities that really drives higher sales prices (the only thing more important is view). Every decent developer understands that 90% of downtown condo buyers are purposefully choosing to live downtown because of the energy and vitality that the area offers. If the nightlife disappears, so do a large percentage of the buyers. The fact that many buyers only later realize there may be problems with living in the middle of the action doesn't concern the developer one bit - he's sold the condo and has moved on. Buyers universally have the blinders that prevent them from seeing the downside. They almost always envision themselves as the trendy cool person (doesn't matter the age) that will fit right in within the "hip, happenin' 'hood". If that 'hood aint so hip and happenin', the price goes down on the condo (again, unless it's got a killer view). Developers DO NOT want to see the sidewalks roll up at 7pm.

Also consider that a very large percentage of the buildings that house clubs are owned by the very same developers who are building condos. The last thing that they want is to have to fill 10,000 square feet that used to be leased to a high-rent tenant.

You're WAY off base if you think that the development community has any interest in turning Seattle into a "sleeper suburb". If anything, developers are encouraging Nickels to promote more nightlife, not less. Of course, developers, like most reasonable citizens of our city, don't have any interest in seeing people get shot or beaten in our streets. If we can increase nightlife while lessening the violence, developers have as much to gain - if not more - than the clubowners themselves.

In that case downtown developer, why doesn't your ilk get on Nickel's case and tell him that these punative nightclubs regulations will hurt your business. You guys are usually successful when you make demands on city hall to accommodate your needs, e.g., raising building height requirements and opposing the monorail.

Why should the Stranger practice real journalism and actually research a story and interview people from opposing views when they can simply quote another newspaper's slanted coverage? Oh; right. It's a blog and we all know not to take blogs seriously because... the authors of blogs are only interested in venting their gastric juice.

Salty’s owner, Gerry Kingen, in the same West Seattle Herald article said, "We already have noise ordinances--just enforce the damn things."

So, he might be interested in knowing what Title 23 - LAND USE CODE
Subtitle III Land Use Regulations
Division 2 Authorized Uses andDevelopment Standards
Chapter 23.47 - Commercial
Subchapter II Development Standards Applicable in All Commercial Zones has to say about Outdoor Activities in SMC 23.47.011 has to say about permitted commercial uses.

Is Kingen saying that he would support enforcing THIS law?

"G. The following outdoor activities shall be located at least fifty
(50) feet from a residentially zoned lot, except when the elevation of
the commercial property line is at least fifteen (15) feet above the
residential property at the lot line:

1. Outdoor sales and/or service of food or beverages."

Go ahead. Look it up - if you dare to know the law. Or you can be like the blogger at the Stranger and remain ignorant. Why confuse yourself with facts? They're pesky little things.

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