On Monday, March 26 Milford City Council heard a conditional use request from owner of the Milford Skating Center Carmen Kemper including the extension to the hours of operation, the proposal for teen and adult dances and the allowance of alcohol to be provided by organizations that rent the facility for private functions. The conditional use presented to the Commission by Ms. Kemper also included multiple requests for activities that the Skating Center would like to facilitate but that are not currently allowed under the current City Code.
The conditional use was heard by the City of Milford’s Planing Commission in February and accepted with modifications to the original request by Ms. Kemper. The acceptance of alcoholic beverages on the premises by private parties or organizations was removed from the conditional use before its recommendation to City Council by the Planning Commission.
Attorney for Ms. Kemper spoke before the Council Monday night urging Council to grandfather in the Skating Rink asking why the conditional use is being called into action at this time and questioning the the allowance of alcohol by surrounding tap rooms and service organizations. Ms. Kemper reminded Council that she did not want to acquire a liquor license for the business but only be approved to allow groups who rented the facility to provided alcohol if they so desired.
“The Skating Rink will not provide alcoholic beverages,” commented Ms. Kemper. “Organizations who rent out the facility will request an application through the ABCC (Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission) to be permitted to serve alcohol at their function.”
In opposition to the request, Lieutenant Brown spoke on behalf of the Milford Police Department and their concerns over adult dances and the allowance of alcohol by outside organizations at functions held at the Milford Skating Rink. He pointed to an incident that happened on October 30 as the result of a private function held at the rink.
According to Lieutenant Brown on the night of October 30 the Fire Marshall told police that the allowed capacity of 299 individuals at the Skating Rink was surpassed; police records state that nearly 800 tickets were sold. With only 4 Milford officers on duty that evening, the Milford Police Department called in backup from the Delaware State Police to deal with the large, unruly crowd that was outside the rink. Police then shared with City Council the 911 calls that came into the police department on that evening. Officer Brown stated that it was a scary situation for the officers and one that would happen again if this type of “roving night clubs” were to continue.
“These types of events attract what is known as roving night clubs and are created by promoters at different venues to bring maximum attendees from surrounding areas,” stated Lieutenant Brown. “A roving night club is a dance club that doesn’t actually have a home. It is a profit motivated way for those that don’t respect anyone’s property or security to have a nightclub without investing in a building.”
After listening to the public hearing, Councilwoman Katrina Wilson spoke to those assembled in the Council chambers and asked that both sides find a solution that would allow the Milford Skating Rink to facilitate certain requested activities without the acceptance of alcoholic beverages.
“There must be some way we can compromise to provide activities for the children but not allow these other adult activities,” commented Ms. Wilson. “Our kids need to have fun too, but it needs to be good, controlled fun.”
Councilman Doug Morrow made a motion to approve the conditions set forth in the request as modified by the Planning Commission in February. Restrictions to the request included no alcohol beverages permitted and that the hours on Friday and Saturday night be restricted to 12am instead of 1am. Seconded by Councilman Dirk Gleysteen, the motion was approved unanimously by City Council.