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Residents Report Gunshots at Loca Luna

Residents continue to voice concerns about safety, noise

Resident Michael Brady thought he heard fireworks last Saturday outside his home near Amsterdam Walk.

The six loud shots turned out to be gunfire outside by , a busy nightclub on Amsterdam Walk, 550 Amsterdam Ave.

Residents who live near Loca Luna have complained for months about loud noise and safety concerns surrounding late-night parties, especially on the weekends.

Brady and others say cars block driveways and fire hydrants, and police officers and private security do little to stop the problem.

“A shooting today is going to result in a death tomorrow,” Brady told Patch. “Loca Luna needs to be shut down.”

Residents say fights at the club are becoming more common and a brawl that included about 20 people broke out Saturday night.

“We cannot afford to have a club this size in a residential area cul-de-sac,” Brady said. “We do not want this kind of activity in our residential neighborhoods.”

When contacted by Patch on Thursday, Loca Luna ownership declined to comment.

, Loca Luna Community Relations Liaison Leigh Davis-Turner said the owners are “committed” to finding solutions to the long list of complaints from residents. That meeting was organized by Loca Luna owner Eric Kline, but a club representative barred a Patch reporter from attending.

However, several Virginia-Highland, Morningside and Midtown residents voiced their concerns to Patch after the meeting.

The biggest concerns included the quantity and behavior of Loca Luna patrons, where they leave their cars, and the lack of city law enforcement.

Davis-Turner promised to hold another community meeting toward the end of the summer. Additional requests for comment from Kline and Loca Luna in the weeks following the meeting have been declined.

Atlanta Police failed to return requests for more information about the incidents Saturday night. However, one source with knowledge of the Saturday incident told Patch that the shots occurred outside the Simply Sun Tanning salon located near the club at 560 Amsterdam Ave.

How do you think the Loca Luna situation should be handled? Do you think the parties are out of control? Tell us in the comments!

- Hunt Archbold contributed to this story

AJM June 22, 2012 at 02:14 PM
BTW, if anyone would like to see these meeting minutes themselves, you can get the document here: http://vahi.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/20071203.pdf
Scott B June 22, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I live about a mile away closer to Rosebud and Family Dog. I can not imagine if one of those spots or DBA etc was having these issues. I would be losing my mind fighting the business.
Scott B June 22, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Yes, there must be attorneys in the neighborhood willing to take this on.
AJM June 22, 2012 at 02:43 PM
The scary thing is that, in Atlanta, there have only been 6 liquor license revocations in the last 5 years. I agree with Michael Brady: somebody is probably going to have to die before anyone takes notice.
Tammy June 22, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Yes, I second that. The city won't take the liquor license from Club Bliss (old 24k club) even though almost the entire staff and patrons got hauled out of there with drugs on them when the police raided the place.
Chris H June 22, 2012 at 03:18 PM
What kind of people is Local Luna attracting now that's causing so many problems? I used to go to it when it was in Midtown, but there it had more of an Eclipse Di Luna vibe. Has the hood crowd taken it over?
T.A. June 22, 2012 at 03:27 PM
Is it certain that the gunfire was coming from patrons of Loca Luna? Are there other businesses or reasons to be in that parking lot other than Loca Luna? I just don't want to blame LL if it didn't have anything to do with them.
MB June 22, 2012 at 03:36 PM
the report from the security person stated this patron was being cleared from Loca Luna. As a show of who's boss, he fired his gun 6 times.
H Levy June 22, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Is the NPU involved in this and if so well they be able to a response from the APD? This bar needs to be sut down now!
AJM June 22, 2012 at 04:57 PM
There was a similar situation in Kirkwood with "Kirkwood Bar & Grill". A guy named David Johnson opened up what he claimed to be a restaurant/pub. It turned out to be a pretty wild club with fights, lots of 911 calls, litter, etc. He had to go back to the License Review Board and, even with all of the problems, it was approved 2-1-1. The mayor eventually intervened to overrule the liquor license. What is both scary and eye-opening is that you can watch how this proceeding happened at this link (starts at minute 1:06:15): http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/media/lrb081611.wmv Notice how the barrage of evidence and problems are aggressively dismissed by the chairwoman, Joy Barnes. She actually seems angry that anyone would dare attribute dozens late-night 911 calls to the crowd at Kirkwood Bar & Grill. I guess she figures the nearby flower shop (closed at night) or the restaurant (closed at night) could be the guilty party. This is an opportunity to see how bad local government can be. Who elected this person, anyway?
Teyeger June 22, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Were any of these conditions placed explicitly on the liquor license? Probably not. So no, none of that matters. You can say anything you want in front of the NPU. It is not binding at all. Neighborhoods and NPU's love to put "conditions" on things that are absolutely unenforceable and that mean absolutely nothing. All kinds of applications get "conditionally" approved by the neighborhoods/NPU's, and almost always by the time the applications reach the city council, the conditions are removed (and the one's that are left on are absolutely, totally unenforceable).
L. Dianne Olansky June 22, 2012 at 07:47 PM
The License Review Board is selected by the Mayor and approved by Council. The only requirements of this 7 member board is that one be an attorney and one a member of the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board (or a designee). The term is for two years.
AJM June 22, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Thanks, Dianne. I guess I was sort of trying to be sarcastic there. I mean that it's unfortunate that an unelected person can be handed the power to cause these problems.
Hunt Archbold (Editor) June 22, 2012 at 09:35 PM
The APD confirmed to Patch late Friday afternoon that officers did respond to a call at 550 Amsterdam Ave. early Sunday morning. According to the report, at 2:34 a.m., officers on the scene recovered six .40 S&W shell cases. There were no injuries, property damage or suspects according to the APD report.
L. Dianne Olansky June 23, 2012 at 12:24 AM
AJM, I totally agree with you. Given the impact an irresponsible business can have on a community, LRB members should be extremely knowledgeable. But the alcohol code itself has problems as does the enforcement piece of the puzzle. Very frustrating.
Chris Murphy June 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM
Some 10 or so yrs. ago, the character of the LRB was completely changed from a rubber-stamp board to one that followed the law, and knew the impact 'bad actors' had on neighborhoods, especially those with alcohol licenses. One councilwoman in particular used a political favor to push the mayor to change the personnel on that board. Sounds like the new chair is more interested in getting licenses approved than scrutinizing applications or holding licensees to account. In the past, the LRB and its associated investigators from APD were the recipients of a lot of bribes and graft. Hope it hasn't gotten back to that, but the answer to the problem is a political one.
Brian Gross June 23, 2012 at 02:47 PM
This is the PR material, obviously their audience is specifically targeted, but I don't want to jump to any conclusions about what might attract people that would shoot or not! http://www.mynewsletterbuilder.com/email/newsletter/1410830351
AJM June 23, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Very interesting post, Chris. It just so happens Joy Barnes was appointed by our former mayor at the same time period you specified (2002). She's evidently presided over this mess the entire time. Her appointment letter and resume: http://citycouncil.atlantaga.gov/2002/images/adopted/0715/02C1238.pdf
jack ryan June 23, 2012 at 07:27 PM
the guy is successful, lets condemn him, get a life guys
MB June 23, 2012 at 07:58 PM
Ha! Mr. Ryan. I can assure you if that "Success" moved in to your back yard, and that "Success" fired 6X .40 rounds at 2:30AM, and that "Success" suffocated other tenants businesses, and that "Success" brought fighting and crime to your front door, you'd be the first in line with a tear in his eye for anyone who would listen.
AJM June 23, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Notice that on the bottom of the message it says: "Now over 71,000 people in Atlanta are reading this e-mail!"
Chris Murphy June 24, 2012 at 12:08 PM
@AJM: She wasn't the individual I was referencing. Barney Sims was chair, and changed the culture of that board.
AJM June 24, 2012 at 02:07 PM
@chris: Got it. I'm just going by Internet searches. Love that there's someone on this board that remembers the details. Were any board members actually caught taking bribes during that period? Can't find anything.
AJM June 24, 2012 at 02:35 PM
By the way, found this blog about the Loca Luna issue: http://tamelocaluna.blogspot.com/ They seem quite upset as well.
Tammy June 25, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Y'all need to get Peggy Denby on the case. If she can shut down Backstreet, I'm sure she can do the same for Loca Luna.
Chris Murphy June 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM
@AJM- no, no one was caught. But if you were familiar with the meetings, it was pretty obvious what was going on. A couple of members, for instance, were famously disengaged during meetings, and were in constant financial problems- but they always voted to uphold or give licenses to the worst offenders/applicants. One of the LRB investigators was fired for cocaine use on the job- they verify applicants' info, like distance requirements. This guy could turn 4' to 400' with the check of a pen. It was things like those that made the LRB an obvious problem.
suavez August 22, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Seems like what happened in Buckhead years ago. Black people came in and got violent and loud and they had to shut the whole thing down. What a shame.
Brian Gross August 22, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Suavez - yes the crowd is black but the way you write it, you are saying all black people are violent, or at least "get violent" sometimes. Yes it is a nearly all black crowd - but I am not sure if this is a crowd of mostly great people with a small violent element that starts to attend, or if it's a rough crowd in the first place. But I didn't want a comment that appears to be racist, to go without a reaction. This attitude makes me a little sick actually - Metro Atlanta is also the home of perhaps the greatest concentration of black professionals (business owners, doctors, lawyers, educators, clergy, you name it) of anyplace in the country outside of Greater New York.
suavez1 August 22, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Sorry, but the behaviour there screams ghetto black people, even though they are not usually associated with Morningside or Virginia-Highland. That is why I was a bit confused when I first heard about all the thuggish behaviour. Buckhead used to be a cool area to party on the weekends till black thugs showed up and ruined it for everyone. Obviously it is not all black people doing this, but in Atlanta when you hear about this sort of thing you can pretty much be assured it is a black person. Why can't the thugs stay in the fourth ward or below I-20?
Brian Gross August 22, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Suavez you don't even seem to understand how offensive your language is. You are right since 99% was black the problems were almost certainly caused by some people who were black. But the way you write you are saying all black people who are unfortunate enough to live in the ghetto, are troublemakers. There are plenty of hardworking and honest people living in the ghetto who have to work 2 and 3 jobs just to struggle to get by. When you say "ghetto blacks" do this and that, you are insulting all those people who have a lot harder life than you probably do. What happened at Amsterdam Walk happened, and yeah it was black thugs most likely, but please be respectful of your fellow human beings when you throw your language around like that. Since you put a "u" in "behavior" maybe you are not originally from the US and you don't fully understand how offensive your choice of words is.

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