Safety ordinance for Scottsdale bars goes up for vote this evening

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The Scottsdale City Council will meet Tuesday night to make a decision about a new safety ordinance that has been in the works for months.

Although the new rules, if passed, will apply to every bar in the city, the ordinance was proposed after after a pair of stabbings, one of them fatal, at Martini Ranch within a six-month timespan.

The first stabbing happened in January. Former Arizona State University football player Tyrice Thompson was working as a bouncer. He was stabbed five times and died several days later. Ian MacDonald, the 26-year-old man accused of stabbing Thompson to death, pleaded not guilty and was released on a $75,000 cash bond.

The second incident happened in June. A man was stabbed while trying to leave the bar. He survived his injuries. Police later arrested Simon Lewis, 29, in connection with that stabbing.

While unrelated, the two stabbings taken together focused the spotlight on the brewing problem of safety in Old Town Scottsdale.

"The two incidents at Martini Ranch in the last six months, although isolated, demonstrate the need to improve safety in Scottsdale's bars and nightclubs," Mayor Jim Lane said after the second stabbing. "We are working collaboratively with our business community toward that end."

That goal in mind, the City Council proposed the creation of the Public Safety Plan Ordinance.

As part of the proposed changes, certain kinds of business will be required "to file, follow and keep current a Public Safety Plan" that will be approved or denied by the city's police chief. The new Public Safety Plan Ordinance defines several types of business that will need to create a safety plan:

  • Age verification is requested for admittance;
  • Provide live entertainment;
  • Provide a DJ;
  • Provide an adult service as defined in Section 16-237;
  • A teen dance center as defined in Section 16-391;
  • Or utilize a promoter.

The proposed ordinance also lays out requirements for staffing, as well as training and appearance of security personnel. In addition, it mandates the hiring of off-duty police officers in certain situations.

Finally, it gives the city the power to shut down a business should there be repeated violations or ongoing issues.

The city has hosted a series of public meetings over the past several weeks to gather input about the ordinance.

The City Council will vote on the issue Tuesday. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.