Proposal Aims to Make Restaurant and Nightclub Regulations More Consistent

A proposal to simplify the rules pertaining to the operation of restaurants, bars and nightclubs was presented to the Fresno City Council today. The proposal would create a set of uniform definitions and standards and establish more stringent public notification requirements than current regulations call for.

The new rules were drafted after months of meetings and discussions with restaurateurs, night club operators, event promoters, residents, police officials and other stakeholders. The proposal establishes specific requirements for restaurants, bars and clubs regarding hours of operation, alcohol sales, parking, noise, security, and other issues. Under current procedures, the rules for these types of businesses are determined on a case by case basis, which has resulted in inconsistent policies and enforcement challenges.

The proposal defines three types of business uses: restaurants, taverns and nightclubs. A business would be required to obtain City approval based on these definitions and the planned uses. Under the proposal, for example, “restaurants” would be required to offer food service during all hours of operation; “taverns” may offer live entertainment, but not dancing; while “nightclubs” would be permitted to offer dancing to live or recorded music. As part of the proposal, the City would eliminate existing requirements that businesses obtain a separate dance permit.

The proposal also would set consistent rules for hours of operation and alcohol sales, based on location and type of business. Restaurants would be required to stop selling alcohol at 12:30 a.m. but could continue food service after that time. Taverns would be required to close no later than 2 a.m. but could be required to close earlier in locations close to residential neighborhoods. Nightclubs would be required to close no later than 2 a.m., except in the downtown area, where they could remain open until 4 a.m. However, alcohol sales would not be permitted after 2 a.m.

While businesses could apply for multiple designations under the proposed rules, they would be required to meet the specific requirements for each. In addition, the new rules would expand public noticing requirements as businesses apply for permits to provide neighboring business owners, residents and other interested individuals an opportunity to offer input to the City regarding the planned use.

The City Council is scheduled to consider adopting the new policy at its meeting on October 22. The full text of the proposed policy is available here.

CONTACT: Randy Reed, Director of Communications (559) 621-7773