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Bardstown City Council reviews bar hours ordinance but delays taking final action

Councilman Frankie Hibbs discusses the proposed ordinance that would allow city bars to remain open until 2 a.m.

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Tuesday, June 4, 2019 — The Bardstown City Council discussed at length an ordinance that would allow city bars to stay open until 2 a.m., but in the end, voted to delay making a decision.

Bars currently close at 1 a.m. Representatives of the bars asking for the extra hour said they don’t plan to stay open until 2 a.m. every night, but are asking the option for special events when tourists come to town.

“That extra hour does make a difference,” Detra Haycraft told the council.

Festivals are an ideal time to capitalize on later operating hours, proponents said.

Visitors to local bars who wish to continue drinking would need to drive to Louisville, and proponents say that creates a dangerous situation by putting people who have been drinking on the roadway.

Detra Haycraft spoke in favor of an ordinance that would allow bars to remain open and serve alcohol until 2 a.m. Council members expressed concern over the impact the change would have on residents who live downtown.

Councilman Bill Sheckles spoke in support of giving bars the extra hour. “Being a previous bar owner myself, I can relate to what they’re saying.”

But not everyone who lives and works downtown supports the move.

MERIMA KRESO

Merima Kreso, who owns commercial property downtown, operates a restaurant and bar, and lives downtown, spoke against giving bar owners later hours.

Several council members expressed concerns about what the changes would mean — particularly to people who live downtown.

Councilman Joe Buckman recalled a study of Bardstown that recommended bringing more residential spaces to downtown.

“My concern is the people who live there were there before the bars,” Buckman said. “The noise factor is an issue.”

Councilman Frankie Hibbs suggested the council create a permit process that would allow an establishment to apply for a permit to be open until 2 a.m. This would give them the flexibility to be open an hour later for special events and festivals while still protecting downtown residents.

Buckman said he liked the idea of giving the bars a limited way of being open later for special events, just not every weekend.

He said he liked giving them special times, but not every weekeend.

Councilman Roland Williams spoke in favor of the compromise, as did Councilwoman Betty Hart. Hart said her informal poll on social media found little positive feedback on the longer bar hours.

Councilman David Dones said he didn’t like the original proposal that would allow bars to stay open late 52 weeks a year if they wished.

“I feel we have a respondiblity to our downtown residents to avoid this being an issue for them,” Dones said.

“I’m having a hard time finding any positives,” he said. “People I tqalked to say we don’t need it. A msall group of people benefit, and not the community as a whole.”

The council voted to table the ordinance and to send the matter to the council’s safety committee for further review.

FARM TO TABLE. The council approved a request from Randi Mouser, executive director of Bardstown Mainstreet, to close East Flaget Avenue between North Third and North Second Street for the Farm to Table event on Saturday, July 20, 2019.

The request will close the one block of East Flaget between noon and 10:30 p.m. Guests will dine at a long table placed in the middle of East Flaget and enjoy a cocktail hour from 6 to 7 p.m., followed by a six-course meal that will include local courses provided by local restaurants. The Farmer’s Market pavilion will host entertainment and a photo booth.

ELECTRIC RATES. The council approved second and final reading changing the city’s electric rate schedule. The electric rate is slightly lower than the current rate, which means most residential customers will see a minor decrease in their electric bills.

The lower rate is also coupled with an increase in the monthly customer charge. For residential customers, that charge increases $2.72, from $7.28 to $10.

For E2 Commercial customers, the customer charge will increase $5, from $10 to $15.

There has been no customer charge for E3 Large Power Customers, E4 and E5 Industrical customers. E3 customers will pay a $30 per month customer charge, while E4 and E5 will pay a $90 per month customer charge.

In other business, the council:

  • approved a proclamation declaring June 14, 2019 National Bourbon Day in Bardstown.
  • reappointed Anne Hamilton to the Cable TV Programming Committee.

NEXT UP. The council meets next at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 11, 2019.

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