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NORFOLK -- The future of one of downtown Norfolk's newest night clubs is in jeopardy.

The city says it is recommending to deny a new special exception permit to operate as a larger entertainment establishment because of numerous code violations.

Since the restaurant opened on New Year's Eve 2010, the Palace on Plume has racked up violations for overcrowding, failing to track occupancy, and even an allegation of a lewd sexual act inside the club, according to Norfolk's planning director Frank Duke.

Attorneys for the night club say the club is being unfairly because its association to a recent fatal shooting.

'If it had actually occurred, wouldn't there have been some criminal charges?' said Kevin Martingayle, an attorney for the Palace on Plume.

Martingayle says the club is being targeted state police are investigating a shooting that killed 33-year-old Timothy Jenkins. They say an argument that started at the Palace ended in a shooting on Interstate 264 with a shootout.

'That's a tragic event but there's absolutely nothing about the operation of the establishment that caused that and there's nothing they could have done to prevent it,' said Martingayle.

Even though the city is scrutinizing the club's special exception permit, the Virginia Alcohol and Beverage Commission says the club does not have any violations on file relating to their liquor license.

Mel Price works at an architectural firm 2 doors down from the Palace and says the operators are good neighbors.

'Just been great neighbors, they put a lot of money into the building and it's just beautiful, and we're happy to have them as neighbors,' said Price.

Martingayle said he believes the city's Bar Task Force is taking a heavy-handed approach when it comes to downtown bars.

'The City of Norfolk is in a tricky position right now because they've had this massive revitalization of downtown area and they're now about to kill the golden goose.'

If the Palace on Plume gets shut down, it would be the fifth downtown restaurant the city has moved to shut down in four years.

City planners will hold a public hearing on the 25th to talk about the Palace on Plume's special exception request to increase its occupancy. Duke and other planners have already recommended to deny the exception.

It would take a majority vote by City Council to revoke the permit.

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