ST. GEORGE—A new dance venue is coming to town, and its owners said they’re doing it right. Many venues have hit St. George over the years from Gogo37 to Dance Haven, but have failed to exercise diligence in preparation for their proposed businesses. The Rush got the nod from the city in a unanimous 5-0 vote, and its owners are moving forward to open soon at 214 North 1000 East in St George.
Co-owners Lawrence LiCausi and Tyler LiCausi, a father-and-son team, have done their research and are following city ordinances to create a business that will stick.
“We wanted to be open March, April and pushed it back after meeting with the city,” Tyler LiCausi said.
Contrary to some public opinion that the city discouraged dance venues, Dance Haven actually did not obtain the requisite waiver to the existing zoning restriction and GoGo37 never applied for a permit or met the requisite Uniform Building Code requirements for a dance venue.
The Studio was a venue that did comply with ordinances and followed the process and opened last year.
St. George requirements
Currently St. George City has five separate ordinances that affect dancing, define public dance halls and provide requirements a business must comply with in order for a dancing venue to remain open. Within two ordinances alone are the following definitions:
- It is unlawful for any business to play music, or permit dancing between the hours of 1-6 a.m. and it is unlawful to operate Sundays.
- If one leaves the club for any reason they must pay again to re-enter.
- Restriction on who may be hired for security: “Security personnel shall either be private security officers licensed by the state or shall be approved by the chief of police.”
- Noise be mitigated and should not be heard from 100 feet away from the dance venue.
- Intoxication within a dance hall is illegal.
In addition, to obtain a certificate of occupancy, a dance hall venue must comply with the Uniform Building Code which the city has adopted, imposing requirements for tenant space, exits, occupancy and parking, among other things.
To many, these restrictions are the reason St. George has been compared to the film “Footloose,” a film where a small town has banned rock music and dancing.
If The Rush were to jump through all the hoops of each of these ordinances, follow zoning rules, fire codes, security requirements, sound requirements, and so on, the permit approval is still subject to the St. George City Council to decide whether the doors get to open or not.
The Rush will not be serving alcohol, thus avoiding violating the city ordinance against intoxication within a dance hall. The Rush will; however, have its own special drink called “Rush,” a caffeinated slushy drink.
Lawrence LiCausi and Tyler LiCausi plan to fully comply with these ordinances and find themselves in agreement with them.
Luckily, the LiCausis have done it all with a smile on their face and a whopping 5-0 vote from the St. George City Council.
“We’re basically going through the process,” Marc Mortensen, Assistant to the St. George City Manager, said. “They’ve submitted their plans for tenant improvements for the building, and are working on parking requirements which includes some off-site parking east of them.”
Mortensen said they are still working out the agreement with The Rush as part of the approval process.
“It’s all in process right now,” Mortensen said. “We’ll review their plans, make sure they meet code, have adequate parking, and the agreements are in place for the conditional use permit.”
The Rush will receive a certificate of occupancy upon inspection.
The spread is being kept a surprise right now, but The Rush hopes to be open within five weeks. A little bit about what one may expect to see and hear is that The Rush features $1 million worth of sound and lighting equipment, professional dancers much like “Coyote Ugly” where all the staff is involved, and girls doing intermittent choreographed shows.
Both high school and college students are welcome, but not on the same nights. High school students, 16-18, are welcome Thursday and Saturday and college-age students, 18 and up, are welcome Wednesday and Friday.
The Rush will play a variety of music from ’80s night, dubstep, and top hits.
The club is clear about this policy: “We don’t want mixing between a 16-year-old and a 21-year-old,” Tyler LiCausi said.
The Rush hopes to hire St. George Police officers willing to moonlight as security. “Chief Stratton is not opposed,” Tyler LiCausi said, “but they are short staffed.”
The building is designed to position about 20 security cameras, to help create a fun and safe environment.
Purses will be searched upon entry to ensure drugs or alcohol don’t get in and people who are clearly intoxicated (having “pre-gamed”) will also not be permitted in. Also positioned at the entryway will be metal detectors.
Saturday afternoon will be used for the “under rush” crowd from 1-5 p.m. which is aimed to be a place for patrons ages 15 and under.
One Monday each month will be family night where a family of five can get in for $20 to enjoy the music, free popcorn and light snacks.
The club is searching for a DJ right now that will help keep clean music that is not offensive.
Charity event and community support
The Rush plans to invite the adult community (25 and up) and parents of teens in for a red carpet charity event the day before the grand opening in early September.
Lawrence LiCausi said he wants parents to know where their kids are going and to see that it is a safe environment.
The proceeds of the charity event will go to forkidsva.org, which offers support to homeless children. If people would like to donate they may, all proceeds from drinks and sales will go to the foundation.
A former club owner responds
“I haven’t spoken with the club,” Josh Warburton, co-owner of GoGo37 during the second half of that business’s life, said, “but I hope they’ve done their research and they recognize all the ordinances that exist.”
Warburton questions whether The Rush has considered petitioning the city for changes in these ordinances based on public sentiment, if they find the city’s ordinances restrictive.
“An off-duty cop gets $30 an hour, if you need two or three it’s expensive,” Warburton said. “The re-admittance policy isn’t terribly uncommon, but what if someone is just grabbing a cigarette?”
The no re-admittance policy is based on the idea that someone will leave a club to grab drugs or alcohol and then try to re-enter, Warburton said.
Warburton said it’s up to the people who run the club to recognize who is intoxicated; however, police on patrol can legally drop by and roam the parking lot and keep an eye out.
“There are already lines of defense,” Warburton said, “so this particular restrictive no re-entry policy already has a lot of laws in place.”
3-2A-4 defines public dance halls
3-7-4 defines categories of permitted and non-permitted uses.
3-8-22 defines live entertainment
10-10-2 defines permitted uses
10-13D-9-2 defines more permitted uses
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Facebook: The Rush
Ed. note: Address for The Rush is 214 N 1000 E St St George. Added.
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