By Gregg Hennigan
IOWA CITY – The City Council Tuesday night approved a new law that essentially prevents new bars and liquor stores from opening downtown.
The council voted 5-2 in support of the third and final reading of an ordinance that requires a distance of 500 feet between drinking establishments anywhere in the city and 1,000 feet between downtown liquor stores that make 25 percent or more of their gross yearly income from alcohol sales.
Existing establishments will be grandfathered in.
The 500-foot and 1,000-foot limits cover the entire downtown area.
The change is the latest effort by the council to address binge drinking and the concentration of bars downtown, where the number of establishments with liquor licences has increased by more than 50 percent in the past 10 years.
Council members Matt Hayek and Mike O’Donnell cast the dissenting votes. They have said the distance required between bars would affect businesses outside of downtown that are not the target of the new law.
A copy of the ordinance can be seen after the jump.