Morgan Hill considers alcohol limits on bars

June 11, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
On Friday night, it is usually a big night for bars and restaurants, but now there's a heated debate in one South Bay town over a plan to limit the amount of alcohol that can be served. Some say the control is necessary, but others call it an over-reaction.

Downtown Morgan Hill is known for its small town feel, but those at the downtown association worry things are changing for the worse.

"I hear people complaining about feeling uncomfortable walking up and down the street because there may be someone who's had too much to drink and is urinating or vomiting on the sidewalk," says Dennis Kennedy from the Morgan Hill Downtown Association.

The associations says recently there's been a rise in problems outside certain bars and restaurants. That is why they want the city to adopt a policy to control alcohol sales downtown. It includes changing last call from 2 a.m. to 1 a.m., giving the city power to pull a businesses' license -- based on the number of resident complaints or police calls -- restricting the size of the bar area in new restaurants, and any place that serves alcohol, must serve food.

The proposed policy is very similar to the one Campbell adopted in 2009. City leaders in Campbell say the policy has helped.

"I really just agree with the fact that you need to comply with the food and not just have a bar where you're just pouring straight alcohol," says Andy Kwitowski from the Fuzia Restaurant.

Right now the only place in town that serves just alcohol is M and H Tavern. The owner didn't want to comment, but patrons did.

"Recently we've had some issues that have come up, but the knee jerk reaction, I think it's an over-reaction," says Rudy Silverberg from Morgan Hill.

"A lot of bikers use these bars to take a break and rest and the city relies on that income," says Dave Rodrigues from Morgan Hill.

City Councilman Larry Carr calls it a balancing act.

"We're under severe budget constraints and we don't need to be providing more police protection than is normally needed in downtown," says Carr.

The policy will go before the City Council June 23.


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