Public hearings scheduled for downtown Lafayette bar moratorium

The downtown Lafayette bar scene in June 2009. (Photo Credit: The Daily Advertiser file photo)

(The Daily Advertiser) – Anyone with an opinion about the bar moratorium in downtown Lafayette has the opportunity to speak his or her mind during a series of meetings that begin Tuesday.

Requested by the city-parish council and zoning commission, the meetings are to inform the public about the possibility of making bars an allowed, conditional use in the Downtown District under the new Unified Development Code adopted last year, and to collect public feedback on the possibility.

Bars currently are not a permitted use in the Downtown District. In 2003, the council voted to limit the number of bars and clubs downtown to those that existed at that time. Under today’s rules, if a bar or club closes, a new one must open in the same building within a year or the building cannot house another bar or club.

Several issues have come up since then. One of them involves Artmosphere Bistro, a bar, restaurant and art gallery on Johnston Street, which for years has operated without a local bar permit because of the bar moratorium. The Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control has delayed action against the business until April 30 to allow local officials to resolve the matter.

The meetings will include a presentation that explains the conditional-use permit and provisions in the UDC by which a permit is granted. The public will be invited to provide feedback in small breakout groups and through formal comment cards.

Schedule of public hearings on the bar moratorium:

March 29: 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Rosa Parks Transportation Center multi-purpose room, Cypress Street.

April 1: 9 a.m., Rosa Parks Transportation Center multi-purpose room, Cypress Street and noon main public library downtown, second floor conference room.

April 7: 6 p.m. Rosa Parks Transportation Center multi-purpose room, Cypress Street.

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