HURRICANE — The Hurricane City Council will hold a public hearing Thursday at City Hall to determine if the business license at the Fox Theater should be revoked for violation of city ordinances.
The subject came up during the council meeting on March 4 as an agenda item for discussion regarding ongoing problems at the theater, located on State Street near 300 West.
Hurricane resident Teresa Nuber, a neighbor of the theater, spoke to the council about her concerns.
“February was the third month that the music outside could be heard inside my house going until 1 a.m. The first time was New Year’s Eve and the second time was the end of January,” Nuber told the council.
Nuber then provided an explanation for how loud the music was.
“You know the cars with the windows rolled down and the stereo blasting so loud the speakers are shaking and pulsating?” Nuber said. “Picture that car parked next to your house from 6:45 p.m. until 1 a.m. This is what happened on Saturday, February 20th.”
She went on to describe unsuccessful attempts to get event organizers to turn down the music, including speaking to them directly on the night in question and calling the Hurricane City Police to lodge a complaint.
Mayor John Bramall made it clear where he stands on the issue. He spoke of many calls and emails he has received from concerned citizens and neighbors.
“That is not what I as mayor want here, and as far as I’m considered, I’d be really happy to pull the license and shut you down,” Bramall said. “The landowners who own the land, they’re disgusted, and they’re very upset what’s happened there.”
In a visit with St. George News at the Fox Theater March 11, business owner Glenn Fox said he has run the theater since October 2019 and has had the business license renewed once since then.
“We’ve done three full-length plays here. We’ve done two comedy shows, and we’ve had 25 concerts,” Fox said. “We’ve done craft markets and paint nights and dance instruction.”
Like all theaters, the Fox had to shut down in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Fox said they’ve been able to slowly recover.
“We opened back up, but we kind of had to change how we did things a little bit, just trying to do events that could be easily planned last minute,” he said. “We couldn’t plan on anything too far out because things were always just changing.”
The Fox Theater was able to survive last year, in part, Fox said, with their ability to rent out the theater for private parties like wedding anniversaries and college gatherings.
“We have quite a few college party groups who like to rent the building for their college parties,” Fox said. “There’s not really anywhere else for that type of thing.”
The incident on February 20 that brought the issue before council was one of those college parties.
“We got a notice from the city on that Monday saying there’s been some sound complaints, and they had a couple other things on there that they wanted addressed,” Fox said.
Fox said he called City Hall to try to discuss the issues and to figure out how to keep them from happening again and was told the matter would go before City Council in a hearing to consider the status of his business license.
“And so I really had no opportunity to resolve the complaints,” Fox said. “It was just taken straight to the City Council.”
Fox said he is very sorry that it has come to this.
“It has just been a lot of trauma for our family,” he said. “We’re thinking, ‘If we lost our business license, what are we going to do now? What happens to this business?’”
Among other groups that have meetings at the theater are a homeschool group and a leadership group.
“We try to make this a community resource as much as possible,” Fox said. “Not just whatever makes money.”
Fox said he has already made some changes in hopes of addressing the community’s concerns.
“We’ve got to think about how we’re going to be able to continue,” he said, adding that they recently decided that they are going to have to stop permitting some events. “We’ve had four groups come in and try to book this space for that type of event. Since I’ve gotten the notification, I’ve had to turn them down.”
The public hearing regarding this issue will be held Thursday evening at City Hall.
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