Just when people were beginning to recognize Provo as a hot spot for quality dancing establishments, it seems the city may have squelched such ideas, the owners of the Ivy Tower Dance Club say.
The Ivy Tower and Palace Entertainment Center owners went before the City Council Tuesday requesting a change in a city ordinance to allow them to remain open past midnight on weekends.The request came after the Ivy Tower establishment was shut down by police at midnight last Thursday. Since that time, the club has closed at midnight and business has been cut in half, said Scott Rosenberg, Ivy Tower Dance Club co-owner.
Rosenberg said police previously had requested that Ivy Tower turn the music down after receiving a noise complaint, but last week a police officer explained that the club was in violation of a law and had to close at midnight.
The ordinance was not strictly enforced until recent calls prompted the police to do so.
"The current law hurts the community both financially and culturally," Rosenberg said. "Provo's dance establishments have spent thousands of dollars advertising their places of business. As a result, Provo has become the No. 1 place to dance for young adults in all of Utah."
Enforcing the ordinance would reverse the current trend because people would travel back to Salt Lake City, where ordinances allow dancing past midnight, he said.
The Ivy Tower Dance Club opened Dec. 31 and "has taken the state by surprise," Rosenberg said. "Students from Brigham Young University and Utah Valley Community College traveled to Salt Lake City for dances. Now we see people from Salt Lake City come to Provo."
The owners have asked that the council change the ordinance to allow them to close their doors at midnight and discontinue business by 1 a.m. In the past, both clubs have not taken tickets after midnight but have remained open until 1 a.m.
Council members agreed to discuss the issue at next week's study session and possibly hold a public hearing for neighbors in the Ivy Tower area.
Councilman Ben Porter said the Ivy Tower is in his district and he would not be in favor of an ordinance change unless the neighbors agree with it.
Rosenberg said: "We never knew there was an ordinance. We were allowed to stay open before and had no complaints. We don't want to make the neighbors mad."
The Palace has had less of a problem with public disturbances because the building was constructed with some soundproofing. The Ivy Tower, however, is older and has large windows.
The windows have been locked and nailed shut, however, and heavy curtains have been ordered to block out noise, Rosenberg said. The tower attracts 850 to 900 dancers on Friday and more on Saturdays.
Councilman Ron Last commended the Ivy Tower Dance Club owners for their business. "If they were not there we would have a white elephant on our hands. I really hope they make a go of it there."
Council Vice Chairman Gordon Bullock said the council is supportive of the dance clubs. "There are thousands of young adults who live in Provo, and we recognize a need for quality establishments."