City Council Will Have Final Reading on Laramie Liquor Ordinance Changes
The Laramie City Council will hold its third and final reading of an original ordinance that would amend Laramie’s liquor ordinance and provide greater flexibility to a number of liquor license establishments in Laramie during its meeting Tuesday, June 6.
Original Ordinance No. 1967 will affect at least 19 liquor license establishments come July 1st, when the ordinance is enacted.
Laramie Mayor Andrea Summerville said the major changes resulting from the ordinance will be the easing of restrictions on minors in establishments that operate as a restaurant and a bar.
In the past, establishments who operate as a restaurant and bar and whose dispensing rooms has been the entire building have not been allowed to serve minors or let them walk through their building. Those establishments will now be able to do so if they qualify for the ‘revenue primarily from food’ clause.
“We have lessened the restrictions in a few areas, so now for example if you go to Applebee’s with your kids, you’ll be able to go and sit in the bar area at a high-top table,” Summerville said during an interview on the 'Laramie Live' morning show on KOWB . “That’s something that we couldn’t do before.”
Summerville said there were some aspects of the initial ordinance brought before the council that were cut out.
“The initial ordinance was going to allow under 21’s in to an establishment that primarily receives their revenue from alcohol, basically a bar, until 8’o clock,” Summerville said. “The council decided to take that out.”
Summerville said the council has received good feedback on the ordinance from Laramie business owners, but acknowledges that they didn’t make everyone happy.
“I know we haven’t made everyone happy, but I think what we’ve done is split the middle,” Summerville said. “I am hoping that the city of Laramie tried to regulate alcohol in the best way possible, so it’s safe for our community – we are a college town- we’ve given the businesses flexibility and I think the city of Laramie can still handle the staff and administrative time.”
Local law enforcement groups were also briefed on the ordinance and give the council feedback.
“We had several groups vet this out and give us their feedback – Chief Stalder, Chief Stampe from UW, Sheriff O’Malley have been at the table,” Summerville said. “We didn’t want to make any changes that would raise significant law enforcement problems.”
Summerville said overall, some big changes are coming to Laramie Municipal Code and businesses that feel they have good reasons to qualify for an exception will be able to apply for one through an exception clause in the ordinance.
“This is a huge change to a huge section of Laramie Municipal Code,” Summerville said. “I hope that we’ve done a good job on this, I’m not going to say we’ve got it perfect. I’m hoping with that exception clause in there we will be able to shake out any significant problems or changes that we need to over the next few years.”