ALBANY, Ga. — By virtue of a lack of four votes in support of an amendment not to renew alcohol licenses at Charley B's Sports Bar and Grill and Club Xscape, the Albany City Commission, in effect, renewed both nightclubs' licenses at its business meeting Tuesday night.
Commissioner Bob Langstaff offered resolutions that would have denied license renewal for both establishments — two of five targeted by law enforcement officials for the severity of illegal activity on or near their property — but his motions were supported only by Commissioners Tommie Postell and Jon Howard.
Commissioner Roger Marietta, who spoke on behalf of both clubs keeping their license, and Mayor Dorothy Hubbard voted against Langstaff's resolution proposals, and Commissioner Ivey Hines abstained from voting.
Commissioner Christopher Pike, who did not attend the hearings for either club, had his vote counted as an abstention.
"I want to go on the record as saying that I do not support young people drinking," Hubbard told Club Xscape owner Tim Shelton after the vote. "Let this be a warning: If you come back before us, you could lose your license."
Langstaff offered a similar warning to Charley B's owner Frankie Tillman.
"Let this serve as a wakeup call," Langstaff said. "The sentiment here is that you have got to clean up your act."
Mariettta said he did not feel the city had met the burden of proof in its case against Charley B's, and he said he was impressed enough with Shelton's candor to support his keeping Club Xscape open.
"I'm not impressed with the city's evidence (against Charley B's)," Marietta said.
Hines had suggested that Charley B's be given a one-year probation period rather than have his license non-renewed, but City Attorney Nathan Davis said the city's ordinance did not allow for that option. Tillman pointed out that such a decision had been made in a case involving the AppleJax nightclub.
"They had a double homicide at AppleJax, and they're still open," Tillman said.
When Davis said that probation was not an option for consideration for either Charley B's or Club Xscape, Hubbard pointed out that the commission was not told that when they allowed AppleJax to stay open for a probationary period.
"You were there, Mr. Davis, at that meeting in April of 2011," she said. "Now you're telling us we did something our ordinance does not allow us to do."
The commission will conduct hearings for The Sandtrap Lounge, Legends Lounge and Big Daddy's Club and Lounge next Tuesday.