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City Council Breathes Life into Oxygen Teen Nite Club

Despite concerns over patron age, alcohol and security, Oxygen Teen Nite Club passed through the city council, after heated discussion and design of requirements.

A proposed teen and young adult dance club is one step closer to opening in Oak Forest—but not before the owner meets several requirements set by the city. 

After nearly an hour of discussion, Aldermen Laura Clemons and Dan Ensing were steadfast against the plan, which received nods from the five others present. 

Patron age, alcohol and security topped the list of concerns, and aldermen established several conditions owner James Marcanio will have to meet before the club for 16- to 22-year-olds can open its doors.  

  • Prior to building permit approval, Marcanio must submit a parking agreement between Oxygen Teen Nite Club and neighboring Original Pancake House.

  • Marcanio must submit a standard operational procedure safety manual for police and fire departments' review and comment.

  • Install fire sprinkler system in accordance with fire department regultaions. 

  • Enforcement of curfews related to minors' use of facility.

"One of the things with a special use (permit) is that it is as of by right, as long as they meet the conditions," said Community Development Director Adam Dotson. "Meaning that, if indeed these conditions that are set forth in the ordinance are not met, they will not open.

If the owner meets, but later violates any of the conditions, the city could close the club. 

Alderman Ensing was the first to speak up about his concerns surrounding the club, citing a Buffalo Grove police study that showed teen clubs are often the source of more police incidents than bars.

"You can say you're going to police it as best you can and you're going to hire off-duty police officers and you're going to do everything you can to keep the riff-raff out," Ensing said. "But, these towns that have them, find that they generally have a lot of issues when it comes to putting teen night clubs and teen dance halls in there."

Clemons added on to Ensing's concerns, citing patron age as problematic.

"My concern in my overview with this is the age discrepancy, 16 to 22," Clemons said. "Does that mean 22 is the cut-off or will somebody over 22 be allowed in, so that there's a potential for a 29-year-old dancing on the dance floor with a 16-year-old?"

Marcanio said that security for the location will be made up of off-duty Crestwood, and hopefully, Oak Forest police officers, who will check IDs and scan any guests with a wand. He added that a security car will patrol the parking lot throughout the night to ensure that no fights or trouble happen outside of the establishment.

Marcanio added that the club will strictly enforce the city's curfew for its younger guests, turning down the music and turning up the lights about a half hour before curfew to escort younger patrons out of the establishment.

Older patrons would probably enter around 11 p.m., limiting the mingling of the youngest patrons with older patrons. Security will keep a close eye on older guests. 

"There's predators out there, and it's our job to keep these kids out there safe and secure," Marcanio said.

While aldermen worried that the owner might eventually request permission to have alcohol on the premises, Marcanio dispelled that idea. 

"We are never asking for [alcohol]," he said. "We're not having alcohol."

 

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Jennifer D. May 30, 2013 at 04:40 PM
This is the stupidest idea I have ever heard!! If this is a TEEN CLUB, it should be for teens - not adults!!! There is no way in hell I would allow my 16 year old to go into this club knowing there are 21 and/or older than that allowed. That's just stupid and asking for trouble. The age limit should stop at 17!
Natalie Horvath June 28, 2013 at 10:07 PM
WORST IDEA EVER!!! 20-22yr olds allowed with teenagers!!! There's definitely a problem here!!! I can't believe this was even allowed to happen. I agree with the people above, this is a problem waiting to happen!!! Let's see how many predators get in there and how many complaints are called in to the OFPD. This is a shame. Now, if the age was 16-19, well, then it sounds like a great idea. But, it's not, Unfortunately. My daughter will not be stepping foot in that place!
Mike Fangman June 29, 2013 at 12:11 AM
Natalie, you were a teenager once. What is the one way to ensure a teenager is go
Mike Fangman June 29, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Natalie, you were a teen once. The surest way to ensure your daughter is going to go to that place is to prohibit her from doing so. She'll tell you she and her friends are going to the movies in Orland or Crestwood and they'll be going to the club. Instead of trying to mollycoddle her, voice your concerns but let her make her own decisions.

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