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City Charges Club For Police Service After Fight Breaks Out

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WATERLOO, Iowa - A Waterloo bar is facing a citation and a big fine after a hectic scene erupted in downtown Waterloo last weekend.

Police said Club 319 continues to have issues with disorderly patrons and fighting. Back in September, the city used a new ordinance to declare the bar as a "Chronic Nuisance Property." This comes after a handful of situations such as disorderly conduct, a fight and a stabbing that required police response.

At around 1:50 Sunday morning, Waterloo police had their hands full.

"All of the sudden, in essence, one officer described it as a riot," said Waterloo Police Chief Dan Trelka.

Chief Trelka said a fight involving more than 60 people took place near the club.

Now it's much quieter, but the fight has lingering consequences for the club owners after 17 officers responded. The ordinance allows the city to bill the club $50 for each hour of police service after the facility was designated a chronic nuisance property. For 27 officer hours, club owners now have a bill of $1,350.

"We sent so many officers to this particular property for this incident that there's thousands of other properties in the city that were denied police service. And that's unfair to those other properties," said Chief Trelka.

"The nuisance ordinance is new but I fully agree with it," said Shaylin Marti.

Marti manages a pub down the street. She said bar owners have a level of responsibility for their patrons.

"If somebody needs a cab or if somebody, you know, is scared to walk to their car or whatever the case may be, each bar owner on this block has kind of taken ownership of that, and I feel like that kind of club -- they need to be more on top of controlling their crowd," Marti said.

The Club 319 bar owner and manager declined an interview on camera, but said the chronic nuisance ordinance has a lot of gray areas. They don't believe they should be responsible for people fighting outside the bar.

The police chief said if there's another fight or issue, it will keep billing the club for police service. The ordinance explains that the nuisance property must submit and abatement plan to stop the issues. City leaders say the ordinance develops a procedure to fixing problem properties that impact the quality of life in Waterloo.

Since the city council adopted the ordinance 11 properties have been named Chronic Nuisance Properties.

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