Council mulls request for 24-hour bars

Painted Lady owner Aundee Steinke talks with members of the Evanston City Council during its April 23 work session. Steinke asked the council to consider allowing bars to be open 24 hours a day and set their own hours. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — A special city council meeting was held prior to the regularly scheduled work session on Tuesday, April 23, to vote on Resolution 19-20, authorizing the final plat for the Bask Addition, a subdivision within the City of Evanston.

DuWayne Jacobsen, associate planner, provided a description and slides to demonstrate the plans. The Bask Addition consists of what is now known as TC’s Supper Club and The Lincoln Highway Tavern. The owners are asking to create a subdivision between the two lots. There are two non-conforming structures on the existing lot.

TC’s will now be known as the Horse Palace, will have a new owner, and will be on Lot 1, which will consist of 37,635 square-feet. The tavern will be on Lot 2, which will now consist of 31,406 square-feet. All easements have been planned for and will meet requirements. Resolution 19-20 was unanimously approved.

The council then moved on to the work session agenda. 

Aundee A. Steinke, owner of The Painted Lady, and member of the Liquor Dealers Association in Evanston, inquired about allowing bar owners to operate 24 hours a day and set their own hours of operation. Steinke said the bar owners in the organization are in favor of changing the ordinance and allowing them to use their own discretion about whether to be open 24 hours a day. The state of Wyoming has done away with the law regarding operating hours for bars.  

“We get a lot of shift workers that come into our business in the middle of the night or early morning hours,” Steinke said. “Maybe they have just left work and want a nightcap and something to eat. Bars that serve food will probably be the most interested in having the option to stay open and serve alcohol.”

Mayor Kent Williams said that the council would have to discuss it and if an ordinance were to be drawn up, it would take three public readings before it went to a vote. He thanked Steinke for bringing the matter to the council.

Scott Ehlers, director of Parks and Recreation, brought a lease agreement proposal for a golf cart fleet for the Purple Sage Golf Course. Ehlers said the current lease agreement is coming due June 1. The two proposals Ehlers received are from E-Z-GO and Yamaha for electric golf carts. The E-Z-GO bid for 50 carts for a 48-month lease was higher than Yamaha by a little over $1,000 per month.  

“Electric carts are less expensive than gas because of the fluctuating cost of gasoline,” Ehlers said, “even though the batteries in the electric are expensive to replace when they do wear out.

“Even though the cost of the lease is approximately $48,000 a year,” he continued, “we bring in about $120,000 from cart rental fees. And if we didn’t have carts we wouldn’t have golfers.”

Council members said they will look at the bids and make a decision at the next council meeting. 

The last item to be discussed at the work session was the budget. Evanston City Clerk Trudy Lym asked council members if they could wait until the next work session to discuss the budget further.   

“Nothing has changed since the last work session,” Lym said, “as I haven’t yet met with all the department heads and need to do that before any more discussion.”

Councilmen Tim Lynch and Mike Sellers both said they had already taken complaints from citizens about the proposed water base rate increase of $8.44. They suggested that increasing rates by $1 or $2 each year might be less hard on citizens. 

Councilman Tib Ottley asked, “Can we get a spread sheet on all annual water costs to the city before we make a determination?”

Lym explained that it is all on public record but she will bring information to the next work session. 

Further discussion on the budget was tabled until the next work session, and department heads will be asked to attend.

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