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New ideas from Chico police on alcohol licenses

Published On: Jul 30 2013 08:18:35 PM CDT   Updated On: Jul 30 2013 08:47:33 PM CDT
CHICO, Calif. -

New rules being proposed by Chico’s police chief would limit the time in which restaurants and bars can serve alcohol and for how much.

The restrictions range from cutting off 'happy hour' to limits on public advertisements for alcohol.

Those ideas were discussed at a meeting on Tuesday morning with bar, restaurant and liquor store owners.   Police Chief Kirk Trostle said the proposals would help change Chico's "party town" image.

It was a packed house on Tuesday morning inside one of the conference rooms at the City Council Chambers and one of the many topics of discussion whether to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. and cutting off happy hour.

“I just want to be able to bring my family down here and I want the downtown businesses to be safe and what we know, is that if there are more alcohol outlets, it's not safe,” said Amanda Montgomery, who supports the new ideas.

The proposals, if eventually adopted, would only apply to new alcohol licenses or license transfers for bar and restaurant owners.  Bars already around town wouldn't have to comply. Trostle got these ideas from other communities that have dealt with the same drinking problem.

“We just need to look at their practices and apply them to Chico,” said Trostle.

Trostle said his department spends roughly $1.5 million a year dealing with alcohol-related issues in the south campus neighborhood and in downtown, sometimes bringing in every officer on duty to those areas.

“There has been that occasion,” said Trostle.  “It’s more frequently than not where we use all of the police resources during that time frame to deal with the debauchery that happens in that area.”

For some, this is poses a huge issue, like Will Brady, who is planning to open a restaurant in downtown. He has already put hundreds of thousands of dollars in, but he made that investment assuming he could get a liquor license under current rules.

“I’m willing to compromise,” said Brady. "I see what the chief is trying to do and I kind of endorse a lot of what he's doing."

Brady already owns the popular restaurant The Banshee and though he agrees excessive drinking needs to stop, he does not think this is the right approach.

“Alcohol, probably not so much,” said Brady.  “That should not be the driver.  I mean I don't think people go to places or a restaurant for the cheap alcohol special.”

These ideas will make their way to the city council next week for discussion.