NORFOLK, VA – In an effort to address resident and business owners’ concerns, Norfolk City Manager, Chip Filer, outlines immediate and future action plans to curb disorder and violence in areas with heavy concentrations of entertainment establishments.
Norfolk Police Department has increased patrols and presence in the City’s entertainment districts on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Beginning on March 24, personnel from the Planning Department and the Fire Marshal’s Office (FMO) started unannounced visits to restaurants and entertainment establishments possessing a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The purpose of these visits is to check for city code violations and to provide visible presence in the area. Code violations will be enforced, and summonses issued.
By March 31, the FMO, Departments of Planning and Neighborhood Services, and the City Attorney’s Office will make a series of unannounced visits to nightclubs and restaurants during the nighttime hours with a goal of heavy enforcement of any found city code violations. Other agencies may be added to this group as needed. The City plans to perform these inspections for at least the next 90 days but may continue if conditions warrant.
In the next two weeks, the Commissioner of the Revenue as well as the City Treasurer will check on business licenses and taxes to determine if any inspected businesses are in arrears or operating without a license.
The goal of this action plan is to build a system whereby the business owners, operators, and the City of Norfolk have shared responsibility for creating a safe environment for all who live, work, and visit our restaurants and nightclubs.
To that end, the City met with the Downtown Norfolk Council (DNC) on March 25 to begin a discussion on how best to call stakeholders together to start this process. DNC agreed to pull the owners and operators together to outline the way forward. Concepts under consideration include:
- Establishing a body to perform entertainment district management
- Requiring enhanced security measures (procedures and technology) as part of the CUP process
- Variable Occupancy, depending on time and conditions
- Using data to enhance all measures
The goal is to get business owners and operators to a state where they are self-regulated, self-policed, and self-managed, with City support.