St. Charles City Council tables bill altering liquor laws on Mai - KMOV.com

St. Charles City Council tables bill altering liquor laws on Main Street, will discuss alternatives

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Bar patrons on Main Street in St. Charles (Credit: KMOV) Bar patrons on Main Street in St. Charles (Credit: KMOV)

ST. CHARLES (KMOV.com) – A controversial bill that would alter liquor laws on Main Street in St. Charles was tabled by the city council Tuesday.

Among the possible changes was a proposed ordinance that would end alcohol sales after 11 p.m.

A previous town meeting on June 12 featured a packed room inside St. Charles City Hall as the proposed ordinance was discussed, with residents and business owners voicing their opinions on the possible changes. Business owners said ending alcohol sales at 11 p.m. would hurt their bottom lines.

"We do more business after 11:00 p.m.," said Diana Sloan, who owns Harry and Lloyd's. "From11 p.m. to 1 a.m. the streets are hopping."

Since the idea was proposed in May, the bars have met numerous times with the city to come up with alternatives, and many thought they would have a final answer on Tuesday. But the city council decided to put the plan on hold as they continue to explore other options. 

During the June 12 meeting, council members heard alternatives and suggestions of ways to make Main Street safer without the proposed ordinance. There was a wide range of suggestions, including stopping ‘all you can drink’ deals, dress code enforcement, and a tax to help beef up police patrols.

"No one is in this to put anyone out of business we just simply want a safe environment for everyone," said police chief Randy McKinley. "We're talking about people getting in shoving matches, and they're overserved, vomiting stuff, nuisance stuff like that that were tired of."

 A lot of the support for shutting down alcohol sales comes from the non-bar businesses. But Amy Wilson, who owns Framation Art Gallery, understands the bar owners' point of view and says she knows she's in the minority in disagreeing with the change. 

"That would be like telling my shop, because I'm on the 200 block of North Main, that I have to stop selling my merchandise at 3 p.m.," she said. 

The council originally planned to vote on the bill on Tuesday but tabled it while they work through alternative solutions. The other options on the table are changing the requirements from 50 percent food and drink sales to 60 percent food, 40 percent drinks, starting a probation system for problem bars, or charging a fee for businesses open past 11 p.m.

"I hope we can all work together to come to some agreement that I can stay in business," Sloan said. "I'm scared to death. This is my livelihood, this is my home."

This city introduced a new noise ordinance Tuesday and expects to introduce more alternative ideas for bars in the next month. 

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