The clamor that erupted this week over the noise, fighting and occasional disturbances at the Casino Starlite nightclub may not be easily remedied.
Neighborhood resident Steve Kennedy showed up at Monday’s City Council meeting armed with petitions asking that the city not renew the establishment’s nightclub license when it expires Dec. 31.
Kennedy said neighborhood residents “feel like we’re hostages in our own homes between the hours of 1 a.m. and 3 a.m.” on Sundays because of unruly crowds that gather outside the nightclub. Read the rest of the story on Monday’s City Council meeting here.
“They’re coming here at 1 and partying until 3:30 and terrorizing the neighborhood,” Kennedy told The Herald-Whig. “There’s gunplay quite a bit,” he added, though he hastened to point out “we don’t have any proof” guns are actually being fired.
While several aldermen said they understood the neighborhood’s concerns about the early-morning activity outside the Starlite on weekends, the two 2nd Ward aldermen — Steve Duesterhaus and Dave Bauer — said it’s unlikely the city would take away the Starlite’s nightclub license because the owners have not committed any “willful violation” that would merit revocation.
Indeed, co-owner Don Heck insisted: “We haven’t done anything wrong.”
One of the chief problems appears to be the neighborhood’s unhappiness with all the noise that erupts after the nightclub closes and everyone heads to their cars in the crowded parking lot.
The noise may indeed be a headache for neighborhood residents. But Ron Dreyer, deputy chief of the Quincy Police Department, said police are powerless to do anything about it unless someone from the neighborhood is willing to step forward and sign a formal complaint.
“We can’t arrest someone for just being loud,” Dreyer said. “We’ve got to have a complainant. And most neighbors don’t want to be the identified complainant.”
Kennedy admitted to aldermen this is true.
“People, for good reason, are afraid to do this, so nothing ever changes,” he said. “We feel that the only real solution to our problem is to have the Casino Starlite close at 1 o’clock like other neighborhood taverns do.”
Heck says it would be unfair to penalize the Casino for being successful and drawing a big crowd. He says the management does what it can to help minimize disruption problems in the neighborhood, but it can only do so much.
Duesterhaus said aldermen will be keeping an eye on the situation.
“Lately there’s been some instances of late night disturbances and people have been woken up in the middle of the night,” he said. “We take it seriously and will try to determine what the problem is and how to best address it.”