Neighbors say loophole is keeping noisy nightclub they want closed in business

ATLANTA — A long simmering dispute between a midtown club and nearby neighbors has taken a new turn. Some fear it has become even more difficult for the city to control the club.

The club, called Relapse, is located on 14th Street in northwest Atlanta.

Sene Sorrow lives right behind Relapse in the Home Park neighborhood. She and other unhappy neighbors told Channel 2 investigative reporter Richard Belcher they had some hope that the city might close the club because it couldn’t get a liquor license, or the license had expired.

But now, there’s a new twist. It’s apparently not a licensed club anymore -- but a party venue.

“Have you and your neighbors just been outmaneuvered, outfoxed?” Belcher asked Sorrow.

“I sure hope not,” Sorrow said.

We’ve been covering the Home Park-Relapse tensions since last fall. Sorrow said one thing hasn’t changed.

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“When they have events and they have live bands, we can hear them on Ethel and McCaslin,” Sorrow said, pointing out streets that are three, four blocks away from the Relapse. “The volume gets louder and louder throughout the evening. So it’s loudest at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m. when it is impossible to sleep.”

Sorrow and her neighbors had always complained that a licensed club was the problem. But now, she says, police are not treating it as a club.

“The venue has changed its category. It’s now an event space. And they believe that has given them a loophole in terms of the liquor license,” Sorrow said.

Atlanta police know all about event spaces and party houses.

An officer captured body cam video as she rolled up to a nearly $1 million home near Lenox Square one Saturday night last December.

Turns out an Atlanta city judge had the house that night and had brought in a marching band which put neighbors in orbit.

The judge got a citation for violating the noise ordinance, but neighbors say that December incident was the latest in a long series of loud parties.

That sounds like what Sorrow and her neighbors say about Relapse, whether as a club or an event space.

Will they give up?

“We’re the slow and steady. We don’t go away. And we’re persistent,” Sorrow said.

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