by Paul Bowers
The controversial ordinance that would require many new downtown bars to close at midnight is still months in the making, according to a timeline revealed by Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. at a City Council meeting Tuesday night.
After passing a first reading at City Council on May 27, the Entertainment District Overlay Zone was handed off to the city's Planning Commission, a citizen advisory group appointed by the mayor. At last night's council meeting, Riley said the Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the issue at its Aug. 20 meeting, which will start at 5 p.m. in the large meeting room on the third floor of 75 Calhoun St. The meeting will be open to the public. After the Planning Commission meeting, Riley said City Council would take up the matter for its second and possibly third readings during one of its September meetings.
Riley explained the timetable in response to a question from Steve Carroll, president of the Greater Charleston Restaurant Association, who said his group's phones had been ringing off the hook with questions about the ordinance. Riley also said that city planner Tim Keane was assembling "a committee of representatives from interested parties" to weigh in on the proposed ordinance, and he encouraged Carroll to join the committee.