City dance ordinances no obstacle for ‘The Rush’

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:

  1. 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.
  2. If one leaves the club for any reason they must pay again to re-enter.
  3. 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.”
  4. Noise be mitigated and should not be heard from 100 feet away from the dance venue.
  5. 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

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.

Demographic

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.

Security

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.

Family support 

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.”

Ordinance Resources

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

Related Posts

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Facebook:  The Rush

Ed. note: Address for The Rush is 214 N 1000 E St St George. Added.

Email: sisaacson@stgnews.com

Twitter: @sarahisaacson1

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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29 Comments

  • Mark Speener July 31, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    The laws are just silly. Elect Sorenson and Dunn and get them wiped off of the books.

    • real life August 1, 2013 at 1:20 am

      Amen to that! If these people you speak of are gonna get some of these idiot good ol’ boys outta there, then they got my vote. Some of these local politicians live in the stone age.

    • William August 1, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      I’m shocked! Why would anyone want to wipe Marianne and Tara off the books?

  • Tracy Winchester July 31, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I moved here recently and the lack of nightlife in a town this size was surprising.why not just have an adult club that serves alcohol?and to have to pay to re-enter?don’t see these guys making it.

    • Dixie Dan August 1, 2013 at 11:28 am

      Why do you need a night club when you have a splash pad and carousel? Don’t you have enough to do with your church?

      • YeahHuh August 1, 2013 at 12:49 pm

        Well for those of us who aren’t Mormon or are non-denominational (or just not involved with the Church) then the lack of options in the general southern Utah area is astounding. Also, if a person does go to church regularly, then maybe they just don’t want to go all the other days too to have ‘fun’ because they don’t like the people in their ward.

        • mark boggs August 1, 2013 at 10:20 pm

          I believe your sarcasm meter may not be operating properly.

  • Where is the rest of the story? July 31, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    So is there a reason that no location for the future club is shown here? Is it a secret? Perhaps one that can only be revealed by going to either your local Stake House, or to the city council?
    Come on people, you are better than this. WHERE IS IT GOING TO BE?

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic July 31, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      The spread is under raps, but the location is no secret. It is included via link. But, WITROTS, your point is well taken and it’s added in more clearly.
      214 N 1000 E St
      St George

      JK, EIC

    • Stacy August 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Or better yet, re-read the article. Pay attention to the 1st paragraph.

  • Sgnative July 31, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    This county has some major growing pains. The entertainment for families, college and high school students, and seniors is behind the times. Good luck to these entrepreneurs and thanks for trying! It’s nice that they are trying to stay with the idea of a family friendly venue although it is meant more for the singles crowd. That will probably win them some brownie points with the city council.

  • Baker July 31, 2013 at 10:13 pm

    Good luck staying open!!!! Haha

  • Tyler July 31, 2013 at 10:30 pm

    It’s really quite embarrassing that we even have to have an article stating the city’s dance requirements and the mere fact that a (virgin) dance venue is headlines. People,although not SLC or Vegas, we are still talking about a METRO AREA OF 150,000!!!!!As a citizen, I’m embarrassed.

  • Candy August 1, 2013 at 8:43 am

    The city ordinances need to change. This is ridiculous. We are growing and we need to make some changes already. People come here from all over the world and have nothing to do at night. The One and Only bar is an embarrassment. Definitely not for visitors. Mayor McArthur needs to retire. He has promised way too many times that this will be his last time. I hate to say it but this dance hall will fall on its face with all the rules involved. What a joke. Good luck to you.

    • Dixie Dan August 1, 2013 at 11:26 am

      Didn’t McArthur once say he was opposed to dance clubs because they promoted drinking and promiscuity? Does he think his position is to impose his closed-minded moral attitude on everyone? This city needs to get rid of him, because he seems to act as if he’s living in a church controlled, isolated town of 1,000. The problem is he won’t retire, and people who can vote won’t vote him out.

  • Jane August 1, 2013 at 10:24 am

    It seems that some of the ordinances are out dated and need to come up to speed with the grow population of St. George, and with the amount of tourists St. George receives every year a bit of night life can be done in a manner that will boost the economy. St. George should look to Salt Lake for ideas on how to accomodate night life while keeping families involved. There definanlty needs to be more venues for all people. Good Luck to you! If anyone ever starts a petition to have the ordinances changed I will be the first to sign and send to all the people I know. These venues would add a great economic boost and some relief for those searching for a little night life.

  • Lee August 1, 2013 at 10:39 am

    st george = utah = nany state = FAIL

  • Horrid August 1, 2013 at 11:28 am

    This article is horrendous. GOGO37 was NEVER a dance venue. It was for artists to have a place to perform. Comedians, poets, and live bands, many of whom played music you couldn’t dance to,(because of tempo/beat) used it as an outlet for their craft. If the building was not to code, how did they get a business license? Whoever wrote this has no idea what they are talking about. At least try to do even just a little research, (or just practice common sense).

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic August 1, 2013 at 11:59 am

      Dear Horrid, perhaps I can help – GoGo37 did contemplate offering dancing; it was the subject of much discussion. But GOGO37 never did apply for the requisite permit that would allow for use as a dance venue, building code requirements for that use may have been a prohibiting factor. The venue operated in other permitted uses as long as it was open. One of its owners was interviewed for this story.
      Here is our report from September 2011: http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2011/09/22/will-gogo-get-%E2%80%98footloose%E2%80%99-in-st-george/

      ST. GEORGE NEWS | STGnews.com
      Joyce Kuzmanic
      Editor in Chief

  • Dixie Dan August 1, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Given the attitude of the council and mayor and the tactics of the police, the name of the proposed night club should be “Arrive on Vacation, Leave on Probation”

  • April August 1, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    I do believe this part of the state is in the dark ages. It also seems like every “event” that they have, including races etc. is only half put together with very little or no effort. I do think it is a great idea for High school and College students but does not offer any type of night life for an adult. Please refer to the arrest page where there are multiple arrests made daily for drugs and they are concerned about a dance club. Maybe the focus should be turned to something that is actually a problem

  • Utah Guys August 1, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    The club ain’t gonna make it. Guys who dance are a bunch of wussies. Real men like guns, trucks and bossin’ their women around, not jumpin around like a bunch of fairies. Get a pair and quit lettin your women tell you to go dancin with them, cause guys don’t like dancin unless it’s a woman doin them a lap dance.

    • Tyler August 2, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      You’re a redneck, hick, anything that has the southern Utah label. To some it up, you are a capital UTARD!

      • Mark Speener August 3, 2013 at 1:19 pm

        He was kidding. To SUM it up, he was funny and you weren’t.

  • Fable Vayne August 1, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Loose, footloose kick off your Sunday shoes
    Please, Louise pull me off of my knees
    Jack, get back c’mon before we crack
    Lose your blues everybody cut footloose!

  • Mike August 2, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    That’s why a bunch of us go down to ENVY Nightclub in Mesquite. It’s an adult venue, serves alcohol (for those who like to drink), and no weird restrictions like not allowing dancing after 1am.

  • SunninUT August 30, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    If everyone hates the strict nature of St George why do they live here? I hear people from all over that move here then say to me that they like what St George offers and that they left a place that had all of the things that cities entail, they want a slower pace of life so they live here. So why do you move from somewhere that has all that baggage you are trying to leave behind to come here and add the baggage back in? I am tired of hearing that its too conservative. You are in Utah for hell sakes ( yes Utah and Hell in the same sentence), and you must like it or you would not be here. I lived in cities, and country and I have to say this is truly a great place to live. If I want excitement I go to Vegas, if I want the quite life I sit in my back yard. Now on the flip side I agree that this town needs some entertainment for kids and young adults. Yes this is a great venue and I am excited for it! bring it on and I wish the owners the best of luck. BUT please people STOP with the religion bashing. Get over it and move on to something else. Jeez. PS vote PIKE for Mayor.

  • SunninUT August 30, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    Oh PS I am sure this was all approved because of the current mayor wanting to be re elected!!! The dance hall was turned down just last year I believe. How convenient.

  • Eric July 19, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    If you’re reading this article and didn’t already know, The Rush went out of business and closed their doors in Nov 2013, not even a few months after being open. Why? Well, they obviously didn’t make a good business model because you should expect to operate in debt for a while before breaking even or even profiting. But what dance clubs do you know of anywhere in the world that last with these kind of ordinances? Also, as mentioned in previous comments, GoGo37 was not a “dance club” but rather an art venue that included the medium of music in different genres. Additionally, if you needed to go out and meet a friend to properly greet them to GoGo or maybe just have a moment outside to talk and maybe smoke like some of my friends did, you could, and then go back inside to see the next artist, group, or comedian perform. I guess at the time the city of St George rather stick their ordinances in GoGo37’s face than have a cultured nightlife downtown. Now, honestly, a “dance club” like Rush should be allowed to easily get a liquor license if that was at all an interest of theirs (and should’ve been) behind jumping through the city ordinance hoops because the only time the majority of adults enjoy dancing without the “option” of getting a little loose with an alcoholic beverage is at a dance class, dance recital, school dance, or some wedding receptions. Also, you’re going to have customers who complain of a $7-$10 entry fee when the venue’s choosing a target audience still in high school—they think it should be free as though it’s a school dance or house party. A dance club success would come from a venue geared toward 21+ crowds who expect to pay something, spend more when drunk, and expect the basic freedoms typically at those ages in those environments, such as re-entry or possibly taking a smoke brake outside. Taxi companies could’ve benefited as well. What the demise of The Rush ultimately comes down to is poor business planning, but the city already had an urn ready with the ordinances to burn them.

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