ViewPoint: Do we need this bar ordinance?

May 11, 2007

Did Albany city commissioners bend the rules by granting an alcohol license to a new nightclub in east Albany?

Downtown business owners say yes... and wonder why they get can't get the same treatment. 

Downtown Albany continues to die on the vine, with two more major businesses considering closing.  Most cities such as Columbus, have a thriving downtown entertainment district, with numerous bars and restaurants side-by-side, which is great for walking traffic, and convention business.

Harvest Moon owner Bo Henry, would like to open up another bar in Downtown Albany... problem is, he can't.  The location considered is within 1,000 feet of another bar. Which is a violation of an outdated and lame city ordinance.

Henry says that ordinance didn't seem to apply in this recent East Albany decision.

The owner of Club Fahrenheit was permitted an alcohol license, even though his club is just across a parking lot, 621 feet from another club.

He was actually denied the license at first, because the two clubs were too close together.

The distance was originally measured through the most logical route, across the parking lot, from the front door of El Corral to the front door of Fahrenheit, but that didn't meet the distance requirement and City manager Al Lott decided to take a second look at the ordinance. He said the distance should be measured along the nearest practical street route, not across a parking lot.

Bo Henry said it best: "You can measure it however you want to, but If they want to help East Albany, then why won't they help Downtown Albany."

City leaders should immediately get rid of the 1,000 foot rule for bars altogether.