Element wins license, with restrictions

Mike Kummerfeldt, owner of Element, a downtown evening hotspot for the 20 and 30-something crowd, applied for an annual nightclub license through the city of Oak Harbor in January.

The application process took longer to approve than in previous years because the council changed a 1970 clause in the city code, known as the cabaret ordinance, to an updated nightclub ordinance late last year. The revised code calls for a police investigation prior to the council’s approval of any nightclub license.

After three city council meetings, numerous encounters between Chief Rick Wallace and Kummerfeldt, and some tinkering with the nine restriction included in the club’s nightclub license, the council approved Element’s nightclub license on April 7.

Had the council agreed with the police department’s original set of license conditions, Element would have received its license more than a month ago; however, the council disagreed with restriction number five, which called for security personnel to monitor the parking lot from 1:15 a.m. to 2:30.

Councilman Jim Campbell suggested the security detail be expanded until the club’s closing at 4 a.m., at least on a temporary basis.

But Kummerfeldt isn’t happy about the extra expense he’ll incur from the added security he’s now required to provide.

“I feel this is the government stepping a little too far into private enterprise. I think the Oak Harbor Police Department had it right the first time,” he said of the department’s original license restrictions.

The other amended restrictions require Wallace to meet with Kummerfeldt on a three month basis and submit a quarterly report on Element’s activities to the council.

Councilman Rick Almberg expressed his support for private enterprise, but reminded Kummerfeldt that Element brought these restrictions on itself, as seen by the 132 documented calls for service to the police department, adding the restriction can be reviewed in three months.

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