HAZARD—Owners of a local nightclub are denying accusations that they are violating county law by keeping their doors open longer than the law allows.
“We’re not doing anything illegal,” said Tina Fields, co-owner of The Mixx Nightclub in the Grand View Plaza.
The issues with the establishment were addressed during last month’s Perry County Fiscal Court meeting when a question was raised as to whether the county had an ordinance defining the operation hours of establishments selling alcoholic beverages. Chief Deputy Tony Eversole said the Perry County Sheriff’s Office had received numerous complaints that The Mixx was staying open too late.
“We’re getting complaints about an establishment in Airport Gardens that’s staying open later really than what they’re supposed to do,” Eversole said as he addressed the fiscal court.
Eversole said The Mixx has been staying open until well past midnight on weeknights and weekends, prompting residents in the area to report noise disturbances.
“They was having a knockdown drag out the other night and had people’s heads split wide open and everything and went to the ER,” Eversole said during the meeting.
According to documents obtained from the Perry County Courthouse, the county does have an ordinance — adopted in 1994 — defining hours when alcohol may be sold in establishments like The Mixx, but not, however, hours of operation for those establishments.
“Pursuant to the authority of KRS 244.290 and KRS 244.480, the times and hours during which distilled spirits, wine, and malt beverages may be sold at retail in the county are hereby established to be the hours after 8 a.m. and before 1 a.m. prevailing time on any day except Sunday, and not distilled spirits, wine, or malt beverages shall be sold on Sunday,” the ordinance reads.
The ordinance also reads that if alcoholic beverages are not securely and physically locked away any time outside of the limits set, then the establishment must be closed and all persons, besides the establishment’s county alcohol license holder and their employees, must vacate the premises within 30 minutes of the closing time “for the sole purpose of the consumption of the drink purchased.”
Chris Fields, who also co-owns The Mixx, said he and his wife do stay open later than 1 a.m. on Friday nights and 12 a.m. on Saturday nights, the only nights they are open, though they are abiding by county law, as well as state law, by keeping any and all alcoholic beverages under lock and key during the hours between 1 a.m. and 8 a.m. He explained they do this simply to allow their customers time to sober up or find a safe and legal ride home.
“We can stay open until 2 if we have to so that they (customers) can get rides,” he said. “But everything’s locked up and per law it’s already segregated, locked up, under key. There’s no unlawful activity going on, so, why not can I stay here until 8 the next morning if I wanted to if nothing’s going on?”
Tina Fields added that besides the fact that her establishment meets the requirements of the law, she has issues with the complaints that have been voiced, including that multiple noise disturbance complaints have been reported about the club from neighbors in Airport Gardens to which the sheriff’s office has had to respond.
“There’s not even a noise ordinance in Perry County,” she said.
Chris Fields said he had verified the lack of a county noise ordinance with Perry County Attorney John Carl Shackelford, who declined to comment on the matter, but said he was looking into the alcohol ordinance after the complaints were voiced.
Tina Fields also addressed the accusation that there had recently been serious physical disputes at the establishment.
“The police was in here Saturday night, and Tony Eversole made two statements which was, ‘You guys must be doing something right because we’re never down here,’ and ‘we are never down here sweeping eyeballs off the floor,’” she said last month.
Chris Fields said he and his wife feel like they are being wrongly accused when there are many other county establishments who do not abide by the law as they do.
“We are being persecuted for caring for our customers. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “It’s a witch hunt.”