Council OKs later last call
Measure passes by 1 vote
CORRECTION RAN WEDNESDAY (9/17/03)
A quote by Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede, on Page 1A Tuesday, mischaracterized the powers of the mayor. The mayor cannot exercise his veto in a case where an ordinance fails to pass.
---------------------------------------------------------- By Jeffrey Pieters
Soon, Rochester's bars may issue last call a little bit later.
The city council voted 4-3 Monday to extend the period for serving alcohol one hour, to 2 a.m. Bars will be able to stay open -- not serving alcohol -- until 3:30 a.m.
The ordinance takes effect around the end of October.
The council vote is in response to a new state law permitting later bar times. The vote was prompted by interest from local bar owners and other convention-related businesses.
The later time "puts us on a level playing field with other convention cities," said council member Dennis Hanson, who supported the measure.
Hanson was joined in his vote by council members Bob Nowicki and Sandra Means, and by Council President John Hunziker.
"We're giving business owners the opportunity to choose whether they're going to do it or not," Hunziker said. "I'll be surprised if a half-dozen people take advantage of it."
Council members Marcia Marcoux, Walter Stobaugh and Jean McConnell voted against extending bar hours, saying the move would negatively affect quality of life in neighborhoods near bars and would hurt public safety.
"You can slice and dice (statistics) any way you want to," McConnell said. "More drinking leads to more accidents, more deaths."
Marcoux said the majority of constituents contacting her indicated they were against extending bar hours. Also, she said, only six of 106 businesses holding city-issued liquor licenses actively worked in support of the change. That included only one convention-oriented downtown hotel, she said.
Mayor Ardell Brede said he does not plan to veto the measure.
"I'm in favor," he said, "and mainly on the premise it signifies less government. It's not a mandate they have to stay open.
"If it (the vote) had gone the other way, I would have (vetoed)," Brede said.
The ordinance change takes effect after the council votes on it a second time Oct. 20 and then publishes a notice of the change in the Post-Bulletin, the city's legal newspaper. The effective date probably will be Oct. 27, said City Clerk Judy Scherr.
Bar owners then would have to apply to the state for a permit for the longer hours.