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Madison’s Sports Grill Catches a Break in Effort to Keep Dance Permit

The police department recommends that the Santa Barbara City Council reverse the Fire and Police Commission's decision and grant the permit.

Madison’s Sports Grill on State Street downtown got a key break Thursday in its quest to regain its dance permit.

Representatives of the bar on Tuesday will appear before the Santa Barbara City Council to appeal a May 22 decision by the Santa Barbara Fire and Police Commission to deny its request for a dance permit.

In a report released Thursday, the police department recommended that the City Council reverse the commission’s decision and grant Madison’s a permit.

The bar was denied in May largely because owners Diane and Derek Harding hadn’t reapplied for a permit after taking over the establishment from the previous owner about two years ago. Reapplication has long been required of new owners.

Thursday’s report to the council said the new owners thought they didn’t need to renew the permit because the company name, Those Guys Inc., didn’t change when they took over. The report said they promptly applied when told they were out of compliance.

The report acknowledged that Madison’s has been a problem in the past.

“In the late 1990s, under the previous owner of Madison’s Grill and Tavern, the police department experienced higher-than-normal criminal offenses and noise issues at that location,” the report says. The permit was revoked in 2000 but renewed a year later.

The report went on to say that the new owners have run the establishment in a responsible manner, and as a result, the crime statistics have improved. The noise level, too, has dropped, according to the report.

Noozhawk staff writer Rob Kuznia can be reached at [email protected]

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