A music venue’s efforts to secure a bar license could lead to a re-evaluation of city-parish government’s 2003 ban on new bars downtown.
Artmosphere’s current battle with securing a liquor license as a bar has reached a roadblock. That roadblock has turned out to be a 12 year old regulation due to the area Artmosphere is zoned for.
“Where Artmosphere currently resides no one is allowed to be a bar unless they were specially grandfathered in back in 2003 when the ordinance was adopted.” said President of the Downtown Development Authority Nathan Norris.
While this currently presents a problem for a business like Artomosphere, Norris says this is just a chance to take a look at some old regulation that may no longer fit with the current Downtown Action plan that was adopted last year.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to have that discussion where we are looking at better way to manage problems and recognizing the fact that maybe the way they decided to deal with the problem 12 years ago isn’t the best way to deal with it today.” said Norris.
“There may be a way that no one has considered in the past and that means looking at the regulatory framework for essentially bars and restaurants in the downtown.”
Norris says the key to finding the right resolution for Artmosphere, and any other business that may face issues like this in the future, is to create a solution for the problem and not simply rezone Artmopshere and ignore the real problem on hand.
“With Artmosphere we can find a regulatory framework that works for them that really does not use the wrong tool which would be in this instance zoning.” said Norris.
“We don’t need to rezone the property we just need to better rule for if you are a business that adds vitality in a responsible way like Artmosphere does, how can we accommodate them in the downtown? We need to make a place for them.”
Norris says at the end of the says Downtown Lafayette and the Downtown Development Authority need find way to attract more businesses, not run them off.
“From the downtowns perspective, we should be looking for ways to encourage more Artmospheres, not fewer.”
With increasing pressure from the state Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control to keep food sales above 50 percent of the total revenue, a requirement to keep the permit, Artmopshere will soon have another review of food sales by the ATC to decide of the venue can continue serving alcohol.