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Party Tour Owners Fear Closure From New Law

Posted at 7:31 PM, Jun 29, 2017

Patron and business owners said they fear the rolling party downtown may come to a stop. The Metro Nashville Council has been considering a bill that would prohibit some "platform vehicles" from operating.

With only a week left until a Metro Council vote, one Nashville party tour business has struggled to get the attention of council members who hold their fate.

The Nashville Party Barge was created by combining parts of a boat and a Ford F150. The tour business has run for four years, but owners feared closure due to a possible Metro Council vote.

"We're afraid it would close us down," said general operations manager Ken Dameron.i "We have not heard anything. We're told that it does, we're told that it won't."

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The bill has been aimed at vehicles for hire operating in downtown Nashville that are not currently under Transportation Licensing Commission jurisdiction. Language in the bill cited safety on Nashville streets.

"[This] will start a process of those vehicles that want to continue operate in Nashville and are effected by this, are going to have to make application," said TLC director Billy Fields. "At that point we will make a determination on whether they are safe and meet the standards of what's here in Nashville."

The bill would impact at least two businesses, the Nashville Party Barge and Off the Wagon Tours. Both businesses have open air passenger seating and allow drinking for passengers on board. Bill 737 has passed two readings in Metro Council.

Dameron said no one ever contacted him about the legislation and he was worried his business will be forced to stop.

"Employees are wondering if they have a job on the 7th," Dameron said. "We've got over 230 tours still on the books as of now. Do we call all of those people and tell them, sorry City Council closed us down, you no longer have a tour?"

Dameron said he has reached out to dozens of council members about the bill but has not heard back from any of them. He said the lack of knowledge has him in doubt.

"We're actually not sure. We think it will, but no one in city council will reply. The authors, Councilman Pardue, Councilman Elrod - who are sponsoring the bill - they don't know whether it will include us or not," Dameron said.

Fields said he does plan to work with business owners on licensing, but that they will have to reach out to TLC.

The final vote was scheduled for July 6.