A string of incidents at a popular nightclub has caught the City
At the council’s request, city staff will prepare a report
outlining a history of police calls to Gitana Restaurant at 260 E.
Magnolia Blvd., the scene of several disturbances over the past year.
The council’s review of the establishment could lead to the
revocation of the club’s conditional-use permit.
The permit the club operates under stipulates that it can be
billed for police calls in excess of three per month. Club owners
were recently billed $3,477 for 15 excessive police calls from
October through December, and police are currently calculating a bill
for the first four months of this year.
Police say most of the incidents at Gitana involve intoxicated
people getting into fights. Among the calls the club was billed for
were a brawl involving 20 people and another fight that required 18
officers to break up. About 50 people were involved in an April 20
melee at the club.
The council voted unanimously Tuesday night to request the study,
and Mayor Stacey Murphy asked that information on how to revoke a
conditional-use permit also be included. Murphy said the activity at
Gitana does not seem to fit in with the downtown atmosphere.
“When we first brought this use into downtown, I did not expect it
to bring in the crowd or have the effect on downtown that it has,”
she said. “I wouldn’t be comfortable going down there myself on a
When city officials present a detailed account of police calls to
Gitana, they will probably also present recommendations from the
police chief and others as to whether or not the bar is causing a
public nuisance in violation of its permit, Senior Planner Michael
Forbes said. The council could then begin a formal revocation process
by scheduling a public hearing. Because of a stipulation in Gitana’s
permit, a hearing before the Planning Board would also be necessary,
The city has hundreds of conditional-use permits on file, but
Forbes estimated it has been at least 10 years since one was
revoked. While Gitana has received more police calls than stipulated
in its permit, he told council members that the billing process is
also a function of that permit.
“While police staff have begun billing Gitana for police services,
that action is allowed under the conditional-use permit and does not
in and of itself mean Gitana is violating its [permit],” he said.
No date was set for city staff to report back to the council, but
Forbes estima- ted the reports would be ready in one to two months.