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November 26, 2013

Sahara Club gets license back under strict terms

Nightclub must restrict hours, hire police and fire details

METHUEN — The Licensing Board last night restored the Sahara Club’s license to serve alcohol while restricting its hours and requiring paid police and fire personnel to be present for large crowds.

The board suspended the club’s license on Nov. 13 when numerous violations of its operating agreement came to light. City licensing and public safety officials took a closer look at the club following a fatal shooting Oct. 23 on Greendale Street.

Board members John MacLeod and James Piemonte voted to restore the license and restricted the clubs hours of operation to 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays and noon to midnight Sundays. It can stay open until 1 a.m. tonight and on New Years Eve.

The club also must have a police officer present when occupancy, which includes both patrons and employees, surpasses 100 people.

Fire Capt. Michael Buote, speaking for fire Chief Steven Buote, said the club must hire a certified crowd manager from the fire department when occupancy is greater than 100 in accordance with state law. The club can train its own crowd manager, but a fire detail must be present until Chief Buote is comfortable with that person, Capt. Buote said.

The club, which is situated in the middle of a residential area on Oak Street, also must adhere to all its prior agreements with the city, including hiring a valet to manage parking as per a 1995 agreement.

MacLeod also stressed that the Sahara, which is a private members-only club, must keep a legible nightly log of the guests in the club and the members who brought them.

The Sahara can reopen today for a planned event.

“We’re glad we reached an agreement that’ll allow us to reopen and that addresses public safety and residents’ concerns,” said Sahara attorney William Amann.

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