by Paul Bowers
Charleston's Late Night Activity Review Committee (LNARC) will host a public meeting Tuesday night to present its recommendations for the city's late-night entertainment industry. Public comment will be welcomed.
The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the second-floor meeting room at the Charleston Maritime Center (10 Wharfside St.). Jim Peters, president of the Responsible Hospitality Institute, will make three identical presentations of the recommendations at 5:30, 5:50, and 6:15 p.m. After each presentation, members of the public will be invited to visit stations with recommendations in three conceptual categories, according to a press release:
1. Public-private partnership including business practices, recognition, enforcement support from owners, quality assurance
2. Special Exception Zoning for late night operations across the city
3. Moving People (Soft closings, parking in garages and neighborhoods)
The meeting comes nearly nine months after Charleston City Council passed a one-year moratorium on the opening of new bars that serve past midnight in the current bar districts along King and Meeting streets and tasked the LNARC with making "recommendations regarding the reasonable regulation" of late-night bars by the time the moratorium ends on Sept. 22, 2015.
The committee is composed of 21 business leaders and community members, with one appointed by each of the 12 City Council members and nine appointed by Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. The co-chairs of the committee are Indigo Road Restaurant Group Managing Partner Steve Palmer and attorney Frank McCann.
Previously, during the public debate that led up to the late-night bar moratorium, outgoing city planner Tim Keane said that the city should not have a late-night entertainment district. Many members of Charleston's booming food-and-beverage industry disagreed.
According to the press release, the LNARC adopted a purpose statement stating that its goal is to keep Charleston "a vibrant, relevant, and forward looking city." It adds, "The Committee's objective is to develop ordinances, criteria, and standards that protect a thriving nightlife, the city's quality of life for neighborhoods, and diverse businesses."