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Sin City: Let the dancing continue

A 10th Street club that had its dance permit temporarily suspended last month could lose it for good.

Sin City Nights must defend its business before the City Council on Tuesday night, its second appearance before Modesto's elected leaders.

The council punished the club Sept. 25 for summertime violations of its dance permit, which police said contributed to a "volatile" atmosphere outside the club at closing time.

Since then, officers have kept a close eye on the club.

They docu-mented three occasions in which Sin City patrons were dancing despite the sus-pended permit. And on Sept. 28, officers identified two underage men in the bar and pulled them out.

Police Chief Roy Wasden is asking the council to rescind the club's dance permit.

Sin City Manager Tony Havens plans to appeal Wasden's recommendation at the council meeting.

"I am doing everything possible to make sure I am in compliance with their codes," he said.

Havens said the minors in his club Sept. 28 were relatives of one of the go-go dancers. They were in the bar to pick up her belongings and were about to leave just as the club opened about 10 p.m., Havens said.

It isn't clear how the council will respond to Havens' appeal.

The council voted 5-1 to suspend the dance permit last month, but several council members said they were concerned that the club didn't understand the rules that govern dance permits.

Rosalind Mitchell, who owns the bar, appeared unprepared to make her case at the meeting last month. Mitchell had asked the council to delay its decision and didn't learn until the day of the meeting that the council had refused her request.

Havens contends the Police Department didn't give him time to revise his business practices between issuing citations and sending him a notice that Wasden intended to pull the permit. Both letters came in the same week at the end of August, Havens said.

Police counter that they worked closely with Havens all summer to bring his security and business practices up to city standards but found him slow to make changes.

Sin City's dance permit suspension follows a Police Department effort to get a better handle on Modesto's downtown entertainment district.

Assistant Police Chief Mike Harden is participating in a council-appointed group that is crafting recommendations for a new entertainment ordinance. Its report is due in December.

Mitchell's Tymeless Cuisine, a sit-down restaurant, occupied the building that now holds Sin City as recently as June. The restaurant had a dance permit it used for music events, such as jazz shows.

Sin City replaced Tymeless Cuisine and kept the dance permit even though it became a club-oriented establishment, packing in crowds for DJs.

Police have said Sin City's security and business practices created a dangerous scene on some nights this summer, such as abruptly pushing crowds onto the street at closing. Havens has characterized those complaints as "growing pains" for the business.

Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.

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