City Council Votes to Require Alcohol Special Use Permits in CT Zones

by | Oct 14, 2015 | Government

By Susan Larson. File photo copyright Fredericksburg.Today

Following two lengthy public hearings October 13, Fredericksburg City Council split its vote on the first read of two amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

Council voted to approve an amendment to require a special use permit for businesses to serve alcohol within Commercial/Office-Transitional (CT) zoning districts. The ordinance will impact new businesses and current businesses that expand. The motion passed 4 – 3, with Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw, Councilor Brad Ellis (Ward 1) and Councilor Charlie Frye (Ward 4) voting no. “I see this as infringement on free enterprise and a reaction to one business,” Ellis said.

Ellis was referring to the ongoing conflict between Happy Endings Bar and Grill, located at 1315 Princess Anne St., which is in a CT zone, and adjacent neighbors.

The Planning Commission had voted 6 to 1 to recommend denial of the proposed amendment to City Council. “The Planning Commission cited the following reasons for their recommendation: current enforcement mechanisms are working, the problems between the neighbors and Happy Endings do not merit a zoning change, there was no public comment in support of the amendment [at the commission’s September 9 public hearing], and that the city needs to make it easier, not harder, on people trying to open a business in the city,” said Zoning Administrator Mike Craig.

Council then voted 6 – 1 against an amendment to the UDO to reduce business hours of operation within CT zones. Vice Mayor Billy Withers (Ward 2) cast the dissenting vote.

Happy Endings Owner Linda Reamer and Kenmore Inn General Manager Jacqueline Hartman both told City Council a reduction in hours would negatively impact their businesses.

The Planning Commission had voted unanimously to recommend denial of the proposed amendment, saying technology has changed the nature of business and the ordinances need to accommodate the variety of ways and hours at which it is conducted; that this is a solution looking for a problem; that there was no public comment in support of the amendment [at their September 9 public hearing]; that the city needs to make it easier not harder on people trying to open a business in the city; and that requiring existing businesses to apply for a special use permit to continue operating as they currently do is not in the best interest of the city.”

City Council will vote on the second reads at its next meeting, October 27, 2015.


City Council Approves Changes to Noise Ordinance

City Staff: ‘No Extraordinary Action’ Against Happy Endings Bar

Residents Want City to Shut Down Happy Endings Bar and Grill

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