March 12, 2013

Early bar closings sought for Essex County

ELIZABETHTOWN — An attempt to drain two hours from the mandatory closing time for bars in Essex County has been put off for a month.

A resolution to roll back the statutory closing time from 4 a.m. to 2 a.m. for taprooms in the county was unanimously tabled Monday by the Essex County Board of Supervisors Public Safety Committee in order to get more public input.

Supervisor Gerald Morrow (D-Chesterfield) led the charge to reduce the hours that alcohol can be served.

“Nothing good happens from 2 to 4 a.m. (bar hours),” Morrow said. “(Closing earlier) saves on (DWI) arrests; it saves all around.”

He said that if Essex County approves the change, it would go the State Liquor Authority, which would hold a local public hearing.

“Then they decide whether they’re going to let you do it or not.”

The requests are usually approved, he said.


The change was requested by Mac MacDevitt of the Essex County Prevention Team in Ticonderoga, who said it could reduce over-consumption of alcohol in the county.

“There is a growing awareness that the over-consumption of alcohol has an impact on our quality of life, especially from alcohol-fueled problems like impaired driving, violence and sexual assaults,” he said after the meeting. 

“In 36 counties in New York state, including neighboring Clinton, Franklin and Hamilton counties, bars close earlier than in Essex County. Earlier closing hours will be a step in the right direction in increasing the safety, health and well-being of all Essex County residents.”

In 2005, the Board of Supervisors voted for a change from 3 to 4 a.m., which was OK’d by the Liquor Authority after a public hearing that no one attended.

Morrow said the bar closing times for surrounding counties are 3 a.m. in Franklin, 2  a.m. in Clinton, and 4 a.m. in Warren, with the Warren County Board of Supervisors currently working on a change to 2 a.m.

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