The Raleigh City Council moved months ago to stem noise and raucous behavior in downtown bar areas by curbing hours of serving on sidewalks (1 a.m. weekends, midnight weeknights) and allowing service to one customer per 15 square feet of space on sidewalks. Bar owners had pushed against limits, arguing that they represented younger residents who wanted a more active nightlife downtown, which would invigorate the city’s core.
But now the council appears poised to ease some of the rules. Concerns remain that residents of the buildings near the bars may be adversely affected.
That’s why the council last August put in stronger rules. Bar owners are of course arguing to sustain their bottom lines.
The council should not ease reasonable rules that protect the late-night peace and privacy and safety of downtown residents, who after all have helped make the downtown what it has become and will help it be what it can become. Residential expansion downtown is a key to revitalization – the key is not in allowing bars to have more patrons at longer hours.
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The council should move slowly, if at all, on the current rules.