Controversial St. Charles liquor ordinance could be changed

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ST. CHARLES, MO - St. Charles city leaders are considering whether to make changes to a controversial liquor law requiring restaurants and bars along North Main Street to have a portion of their revenue come from food and not alcohol.

The changes which are being pushed by Mayor Dan Borgmeyer were introduced at a city council meeting Tuesday evening at St. Charles City Hall.

Some businesses along North Main support the Mayor`s move but others want the ordinance to remain in its current form.

North Main is a three-block area in the historic downtown section of St. Charles.

There are some 18 bars and restaurants along the stretch of street.

St. Charles city leaders passed an ordinance that went into effect in January of last year that requires businesses on North Main to earn at least 50% of their revenue from food, not alcohol.

Supporters believe the ordinance makes the area safer and combats problems like fighting, loud noise, and underage drinking.

But businesses like Tony`s on Main Street believe the ordinance unfairly targets North Main because it doesn`t apply anywhere else in St. Charles.

“We just want it to be the same here as it is on any bar and restaurant in St. Charles. We are not any different from any bar or restaurant that inhabits St. Charles, St. Charles County. We just want the same rules as they have,” said Ann Walters, the General Manager at Tony`s on Main Street.

Mayor Borgmeyer wants to remove the food requirement on the ordinance and also amend the system which is used to punish businesses that violate laws.

City council members got a look at Borgmeyer`s proposal at a Tuesday night meeting.

Borgmeyer says requiring businesses to sell a certain amount of food doesn`t make the area safer but rather could force some places to close.

He also says the food requirement is keeping new businesses from coming to North Main.

The Mayor says better lighting and more policing have made North Main safer and the problem establishments are gone.

“This will definitely open the opportunity on Main Street to fill up a couple or three buildings that we have down there. People want to come here but they don`t want to come with that restriction,” said Mayor Borgmeyer.

Opponents to the proposal spoke at the meeting including Randy Schilling.

He owns seven buildings on South Main and wants the current ordinance to stay in effect.

“Things are in a much better place. You know it`s a vibrant, awesome street you know and we`re trying to protect it,” explained Schilling.

No decisions on this issue were made at Tuesday`s meeting.

A final vote could be taken at the council meeting in two weeks.

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