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Council approves increased options for alcohol-related businesses

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 18 2012 11:28 p.m. MDT

SALT LAKE CITY — Following a last-minute continuation of two years of debate, the City Council voted Tuesday night to allow alcohol-specific establishments in commercial business zones.

The motion, proposed by Councilwoman Jill Remington Love, followed failed motions by Councilman Charlie Luke and was similar to Mayor Ralph Becker's original proposal but limited allowances for commercial neighborhood and residential business zones.

Only dining halls, or businesses that generate 60 percent of their revenue through food sales, will be allowed in commercial neighborhood and residential business zones.

Luke represented the nay vote in the ordinance's 6-1 approval.

According to the ordinance, at least 350 feet must exist between dining clubs, social clubs, brewpubs and taverns in business districts. Additionally, businesses must be limited to 2,200 square feet.

The size restriction was amended into Love's motion following a failed move by Councilman Kyle LaMalfa that would have allowed brewpubs and taverns in residential areas.  

Mayor Becker said the movement syncs the city's ordinances with state practices.

"Over time, there will be … some places where you can stop for a drink on the way home," he said. 

Ongoing debate on alcohol allowances had continued up until the vote. Moving into the action portion of Tuesday's meeting, Love requested that public comment be moved before the debate, rather than after.

A flurry of remarks followed, some prepared and some off-the-cuff, both supporting and opposing increased allowances for alcohol-related businesses.

Residents at the meeting representing both positions said the ordinance didn't go far enough.

Michael Erickson, who has vocally opposed the proposed ordinance, told the council the proposal does not incorporate a 1,000-foot buffer zone between alcohol-related establishments and residences, as recommended by the Bush and Obama administrations.

"It didn't go far enough," he said afterward.

Erickson called the action an "an incremental improvement" but said it didn't address all community concerns.

David Perchon admonished naysayers to "grow up" and allow pubs for neighbors to gather and visit within walking distance of their homes.

Following the meeting, Perchon said he believes the vote bowed to a minority opinion, but he hopes it will open doors.

A map of the zoning areas can be found on the city's planning and zoning website.

E-mail: mromero@deseretnews.com

Twitter: @McKenzieRomero

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