Councilmember Nick Licata
Council passes nighttime disturbance ordinance for nightlife districts
Seattle Police to give $100 tickets for fighting, threats,
The Seattle City Council today unanimously passed what some have called the "meat-head ordinance," which will allow Seattle Police officers to give tickets for after-hours disturbances in Seattle’s nightlife districts. The legislation, sponsored by Councilmember Nick Licata, enacts the number one recommendation of the Nightlife Advisory Board, created by the City Council to promote the co-existence of residents and nightlife establishments in Seattle's vibrant neighborhoods. The legislation is also included in Mayor McGinn’s Seattle Nightlife Initiative, an eight-point plan to increase public safety, grow our nighttime economy and improve urban vibrancy.
Licata said, "This bill passed because groups on all sides of this issue were willing to make compromises. The new law should address most of the behavioral problems police encounter when crowds leave the bars. It provides them with a preventive alternative to address unruly bar patrons on the sidewalks."
The law allows Seattle police officers to give $100 citations between midnight and 5 a.m. in public areas for fighting, threatening another person, or making unreasonable noise. The ordinance applies in Downtown Seattle, Belltown, and other business districts throughout Seattle. The ordinance also requires a report in 2011 by the Chief of Police and the City Attorney on its use in reducing nighttime disturbances. It will go into effect after a State Department of Ecology review, as legally required for laws involving noise. The review can take up to 90 days.
In moving the legislation forward, Councilmember Licata reached out to groups including neighborhood community councils and business groups, the Downtown Seattle Association, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce, the ACLU, and homeless groups. The legislation was developed after meeting with the Seattle Police Department and Seattle’s Law Department.
Said Mayor McGinn, "Undesirable behavior by patrons after they leave nightlife establishments is an ongoing concern. We now have legislation that will hold disrespectful club goers accountable, which is another proactive approach of the City’s comprehensive nightlife initiative."
Licata added, "I thank the Mayor for his support on this legislation and his leadership in contributing to a healthy climate for neighborhoods and nightlife."
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