DRAPER Eight years and an explosion of growth in this south valley suburb have quieted a violent tempest over liquor licenses to little more than a light breeze.
The City Council granted local approval for the town's first private club Tuesday in a unanimous vote after no residents spoke during a public hearing on the issue.
Donkey Tails Cantina is expected to open in mid-October inside the Guadalahonkys restaurant at 136 E. 12300 South. The club's opening will not result in a big change because the restaurant already has a full-service bar, said co-owner Katie Hollingshead. But with the new license, the bar will be able to operate independently of food sales.
The liquor license storm reached its height in 1999 with a ballot initiative that would have retroactively banned liquor licenses. Citizens voted against it by a ratio of nearly 2-1, allowing the South Mountain Golf Course and a local barbecue establishment to serve beer on site.
"Times have changed, that's all I can say," said Councilman Jeff Stenquist, who added that he believes allowing private clubs will not detract from the Draper community.
Early this month the council paved the way for Tuesday's approval by voting to allow private clubs, as long as they are attached to full-service restaurants. The liquor establishments will be allowed to stay open later than the restaurants.
Councilman Bill Colbert hopes the ordinance will leverage high-quality restaurants by giving them extra incentive to locate in Draper, he said. Colbert is the only elected official who has been on the council since the 1999 referendum.
The ordinance change allows for two private clubs in the 12300 South commercial zone and two others inside hotels, though the city does not yet have any hotels.
Councilman Alan Summerhays abstained from both votes because he co-owns Guadalahonkys and is Hollingshead's father.
"There are more drinkers in Draper," the businessman of two decades said.
Draper has eight eateries with beer licenses and seven others with full-service liquor licenses. Draper also is home to a state liquor store, which opened in 2002, but has no taverns or bars."We're not actually encouraging drinking, we're just coming into compliance with the law," said Hollingshead, who added that she doesn't expect dramatically increased revenue from the private club. "People have a choice to drink or not."