North side hookah lounge will not be allowed to reopen

Dec 4, 2012

A hookah lounge on Syracuse's north side will not be reopening for a second time. The Common Council has rejected a permit for the business to do so.

The lounge opened earlier this year in the 300 block of North Salina Street, the neighborhood's main business district. It was closed shortly after due to code violations.

But the lounge reopened, against the city's approval, according to councilors. Then several people who live near the lounge complained to the council last month about safety concerns and noise stemming from the lounge's operations, prompting a public hearing on the matter. The lounge was shuttered again in the meantime.

At Monday's council meeting, an attorney for the lounge's owner told councilors the establishment would close promptly at 2 a.m. - not the 4 a.m. alleged by residents - and install security cameras and hire security guards.

But that was not enough to assuage councilor's concerns. They voted unanimously to not issue a special permit for the lounge to operate.

Councilor Jake Barrett, who represents that part of the city, says a different kind of business would better serve the neighborhood.

"It doesn’t seem like after-hours clubs should be the way we go. And I know that’s probably poetic license of saying the hookah lounge is going to be an after-hours club, however it acted as one," Barrett says. "So, in my humble opinion, the hookah lounge would not be a proper fit for that neighborhood."