Hampton to consider moratorium on new bars and nightclubs.

By: 
Travis Fischer
Staff Reporter

This article features corrections that weren't able to be made in time for the print edition.

The city of Hampton asked the planning and zoning commission to consider a moratorium on new nightclubs and bars in the city during their regular meeting on Thursday, January 28.

The first step in making a moratorium is to have the planning and zoning commission discuss and recommend one. Then the issue would be brought back to the city council, would then consider making the recommendation into an ordinance.

The idea was proposed at the previous workshop on Monday, when City Administrator Ron Dunt suggested that the city prohibit any new bars, nightclubs or other establishments in the city until the city has revised its policies on permitted uses, particularly in regard to how these businesses interact with the city noise ordinance.

The council has previously run into issues with noise complaints from new nightclubs in the town and was in the process of revising the city ordinance, however the COVID-19 pandemic largely rendered the immediate issue moot and the matter was put on the back burner.

With the uncertainty about how state regulations may fluctuate over the next several months and the city not yet hashing out their own revised ordinances, it was decided to put a hold on new establishments for the immediate future.

"I would hate to see somebody throw good money after bad opening a new bar anywhere," said council member Pat Palmer, who was not entirely in favor of the moratorium, but understood its necessity due to the pandemic.

The moratorium would not affect existing businesses in the city. Just newly proposed ones.

In other business, the city scheduled a public hearing to set the total maximum property tax levy for the 2021-22 fiscal year. The public hearing will be held on Monday, February 22 during a special section in place of their regularly scheduled workshop.

The council also held the second and final reading, waiving a third, of an ordinance to vacate the alley between 1st and 2nd Ave NW. Once vacated, the alley will be purchased by First Bank of Hampton, so they can use and maintain the property themselves.

With no comments from the public from the previous meeting or the present, the council closed the second hearing and waived the third so that the vacation of the alley can be approved at the next meeting.

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