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April 9, 2013

Essex County moves toward reducing bar hours

ELIZABETHTOWN — Essex County lawmakers took the first step Monday toward requiring bars in the county to stop serving alcohol at an earlier hour.

The present 4 a.m. closing time for taverns to cease alcohol sales would be lowered to 3 a.m. under the proposal put forward by Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield).

The measure passed the Public Safety Committee of the County Board of Supervisors 7 to 1, with Supervisor David Blades (R-Lewis) opposed and Supervisor Edward Hatch (D-Willsboro) absent.

Blades said he opposed the resolution because it also removes a rule that liquor stores must close between noon and 3 p.m. every Good Friday. Morrow said the prohibition had never been enforced.

PUBLIC HEARING

The change to 3 a.m. gets a preliminary vote at a Ways and Mean session April 29 and a final vote May 6 at the board’s regular meeting.

If approved, the State Liquor Authority would make the final decision after a public hearing.

The 3 a.m. closing time was a compromise, since Mac MacDevitt of the Essex County Substance Abuse Prevention Team in Ticonderoga had recommended last month that the closing time be moved to 2 a.m.

MacDevitt made another presentation to the Board of Supervisors Monday, telling them it is an important issue to discuss.

He said that if the law were changed to require a 2 a.m. closing time, that only meant alcohol could not be served after that hour.

“The business can stay open, continue to serve food, which I understand is an issue in Lake Placid. 

“Patrons can stay.”

‘PROTECT YOUR FOLKS’

Supervisor Roby Politi (R-North Elba) said Lake Placid has a different economy than the rest of the county, with events that run over into later hours.

“There is a consensus in the Lake Placid community that a 3 a.m. closing hour would suffice,” he said.

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