The last dance has taken place at Club Leon – at least for now.
The problem on his plagued downtown dance hall that Manteca Police Chief Dave Bricker – as well as a number of nearby businesses – have been pushing to close down must now apply for a permit under the city’s new ordinance that was put in place over the past two months to make the city’s guidelines comply with court decisions.
Club Leon’s new owner Francisco Luis Acre had received a 60-day extension in June to appeal of Bricker’s original decision to yank the dance hall permit due to a long laundry list of issues.
City Attorney John Brinton at Tuesday’s Manteca City Council meeting’s continued public hearing on the issue noted the appeal is now moot given the ordinance that it was filed under no longer exists.
Since there is no authorized permit, dancing can’t take place at Club Leon in the 200 block of West Yosemite Avenue until such time there is one.
That may prove to be a somewhat more daunting task for Acre.
Manteca Police closed Club Leon on Aug. 7 when it was discovered their business license had expired on July 30 and no application for renewal had been filed.
Bricker, in a memo to the council, noted that once Club Leon did apply for their business license renewal it was discovered that it had been issued under the business name of Leon’s Beer and Billiards. It was not issued as a dance hall but as a retail permit listing the business as a lounge and billiard hall. Their current permit changed the business name to Club Leon but again listed it as a retail lounge and billiard hall.
The business is located in a community commercial zone that under Manteca zoning codes does not allow a dance hall as a permitted use. It requires a conditional use permit from the city to operate a dance hall which had never been obtained.
Acre must now seek a conditional use permit at the same time complying with the new municipal ordinance that was put in place after the courts ruled an ordinance that was similar to Manteca’s previous one governing dance halls that was in place in Stockton was unconstitutional. The new ordinance passes constitutional muster.
The club’s dance patrons – a number of whom become intoxicated – have been blamed for excessive police calls, littering, public urination, disorderly conduct, and other issues in the downtown area.
The Alcoholic Beverage Commission has caught minors in the dance hall that has a full-service bar on more than one occasion.
Manteca Police also weren’t getting cooperation from the owner to reduce the calls for officers – many to break up fights and to handle assault complaints - that hit a city-high 40 during a 12-month period ending May 31.
The council back on June 16 gave the owner 60 days to devise a plan to reduce the problems in and around the club substantially.