Popular wisdom in Danbury says the city revised downtown ordinances in the last decade to curb problems with bars and nightclubs, but the end result was the changes pushed bar and restaurant business from CityCenter to Mill Plain Road. Problems still exist downtown, and the businesses aren't thriving. Danbury's City Council approved changes Tuesday night to revitalize the bar and restaurant business downtown.
The City Council's changes made Tuesday night to the city's ordinances force night clubs downtown to take out an entertainment license, and the ordinance now has punishments for excessive noise, trash, underage drinking or other alcohol abuses. The city can pull the license for repeat offenders.
Manny Carreras, who bought and is renovating the former nightclub at the corner of Ives and White, said he will not serve underage drinkers. He is building a pub/restaurant on the main floor and a lounge/nightclub upstairs for the weekend crowd. He said he will not serve people who are drunk and he will have security on site to keep the restaurant and bar crowd under control.
The Danbury Police Department patrols downtown on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, and the cost to the city varies from year to year, but it ranges from $150,000 to $370,000, said Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton.
Council member after council member asked if this ordinance would lower those costs.
Boughton said he hopes the new ordinances will lower those costs, and he thinks it is possible, but he said the goal is really to curb problems with drinking, noise and trash downtown. He said if the businesses stop serving people alcohol who are already drunk, that may cut the city's costs.
"We will mitigate the problem before it reaches the police outside," said Carreras during the City Council meeting.
Tom Devine, who operates Two Steps Downtown Grill on Ives Street, favors the new ordinance, and Andrea Gartner, executive director of CityCenter Danbury, helped the city craft the ordinance changes over the last several years.