The liquor debate is finally over in Fircrest, at least for now. But it will be at least a couple months before residents can buy drinks on Regents Boulevard.
The City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved the sale of alcohol by the glass in its neighborhood commercial zone, removing the final hurdle for businesses there that want to serve drinks to customers.
After Fircrest voters overwhelmingly approved liquor sales last month, city code still needed to be changed.
The city won’t allow sports bars, night clubs, taverns or lounges — but the council did decide to allow businesses to serve alcohol outdoors.
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Councilman Hunter George proposed an amendment allowing outdoor serving. The city’s Planning Commission debated this previously but didn’t include it in its final recommendation to the council.
Businesses that want to serve drinks outdoors must receive a special permit from the city.
The code changes approved Tuesday night include:
▪ Businesses serving alcohol must close by 10 p.m.;
▪ Outdoor seating ends at 8 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday;
▪ The city can limit outdoor seating to minimize impact to residential neighbors;
▪ Music or noise from outdoor speakers is only allowed during outdoor seating hours;
▪ Bottles, trash and recycling cannot be thrown away between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m.;
▪ Businesses are required to screen all trash and recycling canisters so they are not visible from the street. This applies to new businesses and existing businesses serving alcohol on the premises.
The trash-screening requirement was added to address the concerns of Princeton Street residents who have complained about garbage bins at the Village Square Shopping Center.
Fircrest’s liquor regulations go into effect Dec. 16, at which point businesses can start applying for state liquor licenses. That process typically takes 60 to 90 days, according to the city.