Special Oak Harbor City Council meeting on nightclub rescheduled
By JESSIE STENSLAND
Whidbey News Times Assistant editor
January 30, 2013 · Updated 11:17 AM
A special meeting to discuss potentially revoking a local nightclub’s liquor license is being rescheduled.
Oak Harbor Mayor Scott Dudley said the meeting, originally set for Jan. 29, was cancelled because of a lack of council member attendance.
The council went into executive session Jan. 15 to discuss possible litigation. Members elected to hold the special session to consider taking away the nightclub license from the Element, a downtown club that has been blamed for noise and violence.
Dudley said having so few council members could have posed a problem if anyone had to recuse themselves from voting. He said the plan is to reschedule it as a public hearing during the council’s regular Feb. 19 meeting.
The decision to hold a special meeting comes after Oak Harbor Police Chief Ed Green asked city officials to consider revoking the Element’s license based on a series of violent incidents associated with the club.
In a memo to the mayor, Green highlighted the incident involving Oak Harbor resident Chris Cooper, who died as a result of an assault. The police reported that both Cooper and the man he fought with had been drinking at the Element prior to the confrontation, which occurred several blocks away.
“These incidents, in conjunction with the calls for service, paint a picture of an establishment where the owners have condoned illegal and inappropriate activity, resulting in a multitude of crimes and violations of conditions,” Green wrote in a memorandum to the mayor.
In addition, Green alleged that the owners of the club haven’t followed a series of conditions on their business license. For example, they were supposed to submit a list of banned patrons to the police on a weekly basis.
The club has also been the source of a multitude of noise complaints from nearby condo residents.
Owner Mike Kummerfeldt, however, defends the club’s reputation and said he’s done nothing wrong. He worked with the police by installing security cameras and hiring additional security people; he said the complaints are down.
Contact Whidbey News Times Assistant editor Jessie Stensland at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360.675.6611 ext. 5056.