Thursday, May 29, 2014

P&C: City of Charleston to temporarily cease issuing new business licenses to late-night bars

No after-midnight closing times for new bars

Posted by Chris Haire on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 7:26 PM

According to a new Post and Courier report, the City of Charleston will no longer be issuing business licenses to any new businesses that want to operate after 12 a.m. The moratorium will remain in effect until City Council makes their final vote on the proposed 12 a.m. closing time for new bars.

As if trying to tie a knot at the end of a fully expanded balloon, Charleston officials announced that, for the first time in recent history, the city is taking action to immediately and temporarily halt the growth of Charleston's thriving tourism industry.

Mayor Joe Riley and city planner Tim Keane spoke Thursday at the Tourism Advisory Council meeting to introduce efforts the city already has set in motion to address some of the most pressing visitor-related issues on the peninsula...

A major part of the city's plan is to hit the pause button and essentially stop the proliferation of new tourism-related businesses and events. The idea is to give the advisory council time to determine the peninsula's capacity to handle those kind of activities.

For the foreseeable future, the city will deny requests to host new special events, and they will not issue permits to new tour guides, buses or carriages, Keane said. And at least until City Council takes final action on the ordinance that would prevent growth of late-night bars, business licenses won't be issued to new applicants who want to operate past midnight in downtown Charleston.
For the first time since I began writing this blog, I'm speechless.

UPDATE (June 5): I spoke with Frances Cantwell, an attorney for the City of Charleston, yesterday and she offered a clarification on this matter. Cantwell says the city is still issuing business license to bars, but only those that plan to close at midnight. For more on this, go here.

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