City, business owners come to an agreement on bar regulations



Posted on June 28, 2011 at 4:42 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 28 at 6:42 PM

SPOKANE -- After months of debate and discussion, city leaders and business owners have agreed on changes to the good neighbor agreement.

City officials drew up a plan last year to keep businesses serving alcohol from becoming a nuisance to those around them.

Some business owners formed the Spokane Alliance for Bars and Restaurants. SABR objected to the plan last year arguing the rules were arbitrary.  For example, they said, one business was barred from serving shots of alcohol after 1 a.m. while another just down the street could go on serving until closing.

Now those businesses will be regulated by neighborhood.  Also, complaints about bars will go to a review board, instead of the former oversight which was just one Spokane Police officer.

The five-member board will include members of the restaurant/entertainment and business communities, Spokane Police and Fire, and a member of the Spokane City Council.

“This is to install a finer tuned system of checks and balances,” said Ted Danick, Spokane City administrator.

Also, when an establishment is being investigated, it can stay open.

“They don’t have to worry about losing customers and losing their business if it turns out in the end there is no violation or no problem,” said Danick said.

SABR believes the compromises will result in a stronger economy in Spokane.

“We’re happy to help and look forward to working further with the city,” said SABR President RJ Portmann.

The City Council still needs to approve the changes to the good neighbor agreements.