DOWNTOWN DANBURY may be turning over a new leaf this coming fall. An entertainment license for the city’s downtown area has been proposed, which would allow bars, night clubs, and music venues to open for business with revised restrictions. Currently, new standalone bars cannot open downtown; they must be an accessory to a restaurant, and 60% of the business’ total revenue must come from food sales.
According to the News Times, the three-year renewable license would allow for amplified music and entertainment and would require business owners to provide their own security. Noise would be restricted as well as underage parties in venues that serve alcohol.
“We modeled our proposed ordinance after cities and towns with vibrant night lives (San Francisco and Burlington VT respectfully) in an effort to provide both flexibility and control over activities,” writes Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton on his blog.
The restriction on entertainment and alcohol sales downtown stems from a 2003 ordinance aiming to pare down the presence of night clubs and parallel issues of underage drinking and fighting. However, the restrictions have affected more than prospective night clubs and prevent any sort of entertainment venue wishing to serve alcohol from opening. Many people credit the ordinance for pushing prospective entertainment businesses to open up on Danbury’s west side and in Brookfield rather than in downtown Danbury.
The News Times reported that Boughton presented the proposal to the Danbury Main Street Partnership earlier this month and would like to have it on the table for July’s City Council meeting. A public hearing on the license would then follow in August and allow for its availability in September.
“With the old Mannequins on White Street is being renovated and looking for a fall opening, the new license procedure should help spur additional investment in the district without the burden of our current regulations,” Boughton writes.
“We will continue to evaluate our regulations as we look to find the ‘sweet spot’ for prospective club owners in the Dining and Entertainment District.”