Sculley’s Shooters wanted to stay open an extra hour for concert in August, sparking a series of strong objections before the city council Tuesday. The council denied the application for a special permit for Shooter’s to stay open until 2 a.m. on Aug. 3 for a concert to observe the birthday of Rock 100 radio.
The council chambers were full and the discussion was spirited, with several speaking against it.
Capt. Jim Parish of the Nebraska State Patrol said statistics show most accidents involving alcohol occur between 12 a.m. and 2 a.m., so there would predictably be more accidents if the proposal is approved. He also said it would put an extra burden on law enforcement to handle situations that arise from longer drinking hours.
Former councilman Jerry Stoll also spoke against. He said it would set a precedent for more applications, and the council could not deny others if they allowed it once.
The “precedent-setting” aspect of a one-time allowance played a big part in the objections that were stated.
The director of the Civil Service Commission, attorney Todd Engleman, spoke against the proposal. Engleman agreed that it would put an extra load on law enforcement as well as emergency personnel with more accidents, domestic violence and other acts from people who were drinking longer.
Police Chief Mike Swain gave his department’s outlook.
Swain started by asking. “Can we handle the extra risk (to officers)?” and answering “Yes, we can, we are in a risk-taking business.”
But Swain also said “To say this is a test case is a mistake (to see if the later closing time is going to work okay) and added, “The police department is against it.”
Two people spoke in favor. Rock 100 Radio Station Manager Nate Christopher said the concert is his station’s birthday bash and a lot of their listeners are shift workers who won’t get off work early enough to catch the headliner otherwise.
NebraskaLand Days Executive Director David Fudge expressed great interest. Fudge told the council that booking bands is a big expense and bad weather affected Nebraskaland Days concerts the last couple years. He said an extra hour would be helpful in compensating for weather delays and getting a full concert from the entertainers.
Then the council denied the application.
The denial of the permit actually took two votes.
First, the council voted to disapprove the application, 7-1, with Councilman Brook Baker casting the only vote in favor.
The council then voted 7-1 to send the application on to the Nebraska Liquor Commission with a negative recommendation. Baker voted against the negative recommendation.
The two-vote method was suggested by North Platte City Attorney Doug Stack. Stack said the liquor commission would have the final say on the proposal, but if the council disapproved the application and also sent a negative recommendation, the liquor commission would be 99.9% certain to turn it down.
In other business, the council unanimously approved a street improvement district on U.S. Highway 30 (Rodeo Road). The council also suspended the normally-required three votes for improvement districts, and approved the district on the first vote.
The improvements will stretch from Sycamore St. past Mills Ave., a distance of more than 20 blocks.
The district will not result in any assessments to adjacent property owners. It is being created as part of a Nebraska Department of Roads project, according to council documents.
City Administrator Jim Hawks said the council needs to act promptly to take advantage of some state roads money that is available. Hawks said the project must be finished next summer and he would put together the rest of the documents for the council to consider at the next meeting.
In other business, the council:
• Sent an application by Smoker’s Outlets at 102 Rodeo Road for a class D liquor license allowing sale of beer, wine and distilled spirits (off sale only) to the Liquor Control Commission with no recommendation.
• Approved an application by Sculley’s Shooters for a special designated license on July 27 for an all-day concert at the D&N Event Center. Sculley has also applied for a special permit to the county that day for a concert at the fairgrounds by the Casey Donahew Band, Logan Mize and Nashville Reject.
• Approved an application by Cedar Bowl/Touchdown Club for a special liquor license on Aug. 3 to serve the annual meeting of American Veterans at the D&N Event center.
• Approved the designation of Farmer’s State Bank as a warrant lender, authorizing the execution and delivery of a warrant purchase agreement.
• Adopted a resolution approving claims and authorizing payment of $28,786.72 to Cement Products, Inc. and $9,942.25 to Municipal Light and Water for work to extend a city sewer line.