Published Thursday, December 21, 2000
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                  Council views revised rave rules following
                  input from club owners

                  Police chief opposes plans to allow teens to party into

                                     By LAUREN MARKOE

                  Responding to club owners' concerns, politicians are tinkering with the
                  city's proposed rave ordinance.

                  The ordinance, drawn up by Charlotte-Mecklenburg police, aims to
                  control drug sales and use at nightclubs by restricting clubs' hours of
                  operation and requiring a permit to operate the club. Police say raves -
                  all- or late-night dance parties - are magnets for teen-agers who use
                  Ecstasy and other drugs.

                  Members of the City Council's Public Safety Committee said they intend
                  to send an ordinance to control raves to the council, which could vote it
                  into law. But they asked police Wednesday to make changes first.

                  One of club owners' objections to the draft is its requirement that clubs
                  that cater to adults close at 2:30 a.m. Committee Chairman Patrick
                  Cannon asked the police attorney who wrote the ordinance to draft
                  alternatives to a few sections. The alternatives would:

                   Allow nightclubs that cater to those 18 and older to stay open past
                  2:30 a.m.

                   Tell club owners exactly how to apply for permits and how much a
                  permit would cost.

                   Allow 16- and 17-year-olds in nightclubs that cater to adults - but
                  require them to leave by an appointed hour sometime before closing.

                  The draft now divides nightclubs into "adult" and "juvenile" categories.
                  Those that cater to patrons under 18 - must close at midnight Friday
                  and Saturday and at 11 p.m. all other days.

                  "We don't want 14-year-olds partying with 34-year-olds," said Cannon.

                  Some critics of the ordinance say it's too strict, and 16- and
                  17-year-olds should be allowed to attend adult clubs for at least some of
                  the night.

                  Police Chief Darrel Stephens advised against that change. So did
                  council member Mike Castano, who argued that an adult club is
                  inappropriate for a 16- or 17-year-old.

                  "So they like the music. So they like the dancing. I did too at that age,"
                  he said. But clubs today are far more dangerous than dance halls were
                  when he was a teen-ager, said Castano, who is 64.

                  About 15 people, many of whom own clubs or work for club owners,
                  attended Wednesday's meeting. Alan Jones, a securities trader from
                  Davidson, also showed up. He worried the ordinance would violate the
                  Constitution's guarantee of freedom of assembly.

                  "The police's role is to enforce the laws, not to legislate," he said.