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Council Considers 8 p.m. Cutoff for Outdoor Live Music on South Main

New proposal would allow restaurants that serve alcohol to have live music if they obtain a conditional use permit.

Residents and restaurant owners urged compromise Thursday night as the St. Charles City Council discussed allowing South Main Street restaurants that serve alcohol to have live music. 

Councilwoman Mary Ann Ohms, Ward-1, introduced an amended bill Thursday that would allow those restaurants to have unamplified live music outside until 8 p.m. and inside until 9 p.m. 

Currently, no live music is allowed at restaurants that serve alcohol on South Main Street. This law impacts a handful of establishments including Old Millstream, Little Hills Winery and Magpie's. 

The council is expected to vote on the ordinance at the Oct. 16 council meeting. 

Ohms said she worked with residents create a plan that takes into consideration the concerns raised by people in the area. 

In previous meetings, many people spoke against changing current law, saying that the combination of alcohol and music would be disruptive to residents who live in the area. Others said it might contribute to parking issues. 

On Thursday, more than 12 people spoke in favor of the compromise proposal. 

Michael Gatto, owner of The Vine on South Main Street, said he is concerned about the possible noise that might come from live music. 

"But I really feel that the noise level, if you cut it off at 10 p.m., I feel it would benefit all of us as far as having a nice place to go," he said. "I really hope we can get it done. I'll live with anything you do decide." 

Gatto said having live music on South Main Street might encourage some shops to stay open later. 

Sheri Steffans, who owns the Heart of St. Charles Banquet Center and hopes to open another banquet center on South Main Street, also weighed in on the issue. 

"It is time that common sense prevail," she said. "By the way the South Main Preservation is correct in saying live music draws a crowd, and isn’t that what our small businesses on South Main are praying for? Isn't drawing a crowd the whole point?"

Council Members Question Enforcement

Restaurants on South Main Street that serve alcohol who wanted to have live music would have to apply for a conditional use permit under the proposed ordinance. 

The council could also impose additional restrictions on the business beyond the time rules. If a business violates the conditions on the permit, Bruce Evans, Director of Community Development, said his department could revoke the permit. 

Council members wondered how it would be enforced.

"I guess that's the biggest concern people have, the greatest degree of skepticism is how is the city going to ... enforce it?" Councilman Mike Klinghammer said.

Evans said he would work with the police department to see what sort of checks would be possible. He also said his department could do periodic, unannounced spot checks on various businesses.  

The Missourian October 05, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Does anyone remember how well the pedestrian mall on North Main worked out years ago, when the street was completely shut down? How it basically killed N. Main? Well, this is more of the same. You don't become another Delmar Loop by enforcing sleepytime at 8pm.
Steve Barteau October 06, 2012 at 03:31 AM
It's about time the City Council used their heads.

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