It’s almost official – new businesses in downtown Danbury will be able to apply for liquor permits and entertainment licenses starting December 5. A new ordinance regulating amplified music in downtown businesses is scheduled to be approved by City Council on December 4, and in tandem, amendments in downtown zoning regulations will go into effect, allowing for new bars, clubs, and music venues to open downtown for the first time in nearly a decade.
A public hearing on the ordinance will be held on December 4 at 7pm. A hearing was formerly scheduled for November 19; however, winter weather cancelled City Council’s meeting earlier this month and postponed the hearing on revisions that had been made to the ordinance in October. City Council is expected to approve the ordinance and accompanying zoning amendments at their post-hearing meeting on the 4th at 7:30pm. Applications will be available to prospective and current downtown business owners the following day, says Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.
The proposed entertainment license, written by Mayor Mark Boughton, City Planner Dennis Elpern, and City Attorney Daniel Casagrande, is designed to foster responsible business practices among downtown establishments offering amplified music. The three-year license would be required by all such businesses, and would require businesses to employ their own security, follow reasonable noise restrictions, and provide physical barriers between all-ages areas and areas where alcohol is served. The application fee for existing downtown venues would be waived, but all businesses providing amplified music will have to apply. The parameters of the license would be enforceable by Danbury Police, Zoning, and the City.
Laterally, the Zoning Commission has planned amendments that would eliminate restrictions on downtown liquor permits. The amendments are scheduled to be submitted upon City Council’s approval of the license, at which time downtown businesses would be able to apply for liquor permits through the state of Connecticut.
To read a preliminary draft of the ordinance, click here. (This draft restricted the operating hours and “last call” times of downtown bars by a half hour more than bars located in the rest of the city. Following a public hearing in October, Council members concluded that such parameters would continue to put downtown businesses at a disadvantage and moved to revise the license in order to create a level playing field.)
The December 4 City Council public hearing will take place at City Hall, located at 155 Deer Hill Avenue in Danbury, in the Council Chambers on the third floor at 7pm. For more information, visit the City’s website.