Providence City Council to hire law firm to review licensing process for nightclubs

PROVIDENCE – The City Council is forming a new working group with police and business representatives to consider best approaches to addressing issues of safety surrounding the city’s nightclubs.

The working group will include members of the council, public safety officials and nightclub owners, according to a news release.

In addition, the council agreed to pay up to $15,000 for the services of a law firm to look into the processes and procedures of the city’s Board of Licenses. The board is responsible for issuing business licenses and for enforcing city rules relating to licenses.

Three years ago, a similar review resulted in a 13-page report that called into question the professionalism of the then-board and its procedures for reviewing applications for licenses and holding hearings on license suspensions and renewals.

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Since then, some reforms have taken place, according to a council spokesman.

Friday, council leadership said they were alarmed by recent violent incidents taking place near nightspots.

“With the recent uptick in violence associated around clubs in our city, I believe we are ready to revisit these issues,” said Jo-Ann Ryan, the council’s majority leader.

“More and more there are neighborhood restaurants that are also operating as entertainment venues at night and the result has been an onslaught of issues affecting the quality of life for residents.”

Mary MacDonald is a staff writer for the PBN. Contact her at

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