Citing the high number of calls for service over the past several
months, police officials are expected to ask city officials Tuesday
for a hearing to determine if Gitana Restaurant has violated its
Under Gitana’s permit, the club can be charged for police calls in
excess of three per month. Police have billed the club almost $7,000
for excessive calls since October.
In May, the City Council asked police for a detailed account of
service calls to Gitana, 260 E. Magnolia Blvd. At Tuesday’s meeting,
police will recommend to the council that the planning board hold a
hearing to determine whether the restaurant is a detriment to public
health and safety.
“Based on the activity at this location, it is my opinion that
Gitana is creating a substantial adverse impact on the city’s police
services and constitutes a nuisance,” Police Chief Thomas Hoefel said
in a letter to the council.
Gitana’s co-owners could not be reached for comment Friday.
If the planning board decides to recommend a revocation hearing,
the council could consider taking away Gitana’s permit as soon as 20
days later. Part of Gitana’s permit stipulates that the planning
board hold a hearing before the council can take action on revoking
Council members could not be reached for comment about the police
department’s recommendation, but at their May 27 meeting, Mayor
Stacey Murphy said the club did not seem to fit into the atmosphere
of downtown, and that she would be uncomfortable going near Gitana on
a Saturday night.
On June 18, police charged the club’s owners $3,302 for a total of
41 incidents from January through May. Among the disturbances police
responded to were a May 15 fight in the parking lot that required 17
officers and a Jan. 31 incident that required 14 officers and the
In May, the club was billed $3,477 for 15 calls between October
According to spokesman Sgt. William Berry, police have not
received payment for either bill, though the department has no
immediate plans to take legal action to recoup the costs.
Since the first bill was issued May 16, Berry said it appears the
number of incidents at Gitana has decreased. Since the end of May,
police have been called to the bar twice -- once for a traffic stop
and once for a fight. But Berry cautioned that the figure does not
include any instances where an individual might have become
intoxicated at Gitana, then committed a crime elsewhere.
“If he becomes a danger to the public while in Gitana, we still
consider it a Gitana incident,” he said.