TWIN FALLS — The future of a downtown bar and dance club will once again come up for public debate as the Planning and Zoning Commission decides whether to revoke its special use permit.
The commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to initiate the process of revoking the permit that allows Bumpin Bernie’s to operate until 3 a.m. on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays and to have a dance club with pool tables. This is the second time in a year that a city department has gone after the special use permit initially granted to Afrim Hetemi in 2011.
City staff say Bumpin Bernie’s, at 139 Shoshone St. N., is violating its permit because it has been opening past its permitted hours on Thursday nights.
“We believe we have enough information to prove there has been a violation of the special use permit,” Planning and Zoning Director Jonathan Spendlove said.
The public will be invited to provide input during a hearing scheduled for Oct. 9. At that time, Bumpin Bernie’s will also be allowed to defend itself. The bar’s owner has not returned calls for comment to the Times-News.
The Planning and Zoning Commission had a public hearing in October 2017 about a request to cut the bar’s hours of operation after police saw an increase in calls for that location in the early-morning hours. At that time, the commission tabled the item until December 2017, when it voted against amending the special use permit because it said police didn’t provide enough evidence to prove their case.
Since then, the commission has welcomed four new faces to its board. The new body will consider whether Bernie’s violated its permit, and may decide whether reported overcrowding at the bar is also a violation of the permit.
“We’re hoping there would be a vote by this body,” Spendlove said at Tuesday’s meeting.
The policing issues at Bumpin Bernie’s have continued despite the bar knowing “that we were looking at this business closely,” Spendlove said. The land use is putting a strain on city resources, he said.
The public was not invited to comment at Tuesday’s meeting because the commission’s decision will need to be based solely on what is presented at the public hearing, chairman Gerardo “Tato” Munoz said. Commissioners Danielle Dawson, David Detweiler and Ed Musser were not at Tuesday’s meeting.
Also at the meeting, the commission:
- Voted to reinstate a special use permit for a dog kennel or “pet resort” at 304 Fourth Ave. W.
- Approved a special use permit for a drive-through ATM at 102 Second Ave. S. for Wells Fargo. This drive-through will replace the ATM at the former downtown Wells Fargo branch across the street.
- Approved a special use permit for a 1,600 square-foot vehicle storage building at 278 Caswell Ave. W.
- Approved a special use permit for a communications building for PMT at 260 Highland Ave.