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|Paynesville Press - Aug. 13, 2003|
Stearns County approves 2 a.m. bar closings
Bars in Stearns County will have the option to stay open open longer. |
The Stearns County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously last week to allow bars to obtain a special permit to stay open until 2 a.m., an hour later than currently. The change is now permissible under state law, the result of the recent legislative session.
In July, the commissioners agreed to keep the closing time at 1 a.m. for the 34 bars in the county licensed by the county and set a public hearing to change the county ordinance to keep 1 a.m. closing times for bars.
Bars in townships are regulated by the county; bars in cities are regulated by their respective city governments.
But the board was moved to reconsider the closing time after a public hearing last week, mainly because some cities in the county have already allowed their bars to stay open until 2 a.m. According to the St. Cloud Times, cities that have approved 2 a.m. bar closing times include Cold Spring, Kimball, Rockville, St. Martin, and Sartell.
If the county would have limited bars in townships to a 1 a.m. closing, it would have put them at a competitive disadvantage, it was argued.
The board approved allowing bars to apply for a special permit to stay open until 2 a.m. and then approved an application from Kozzie's Lakeside Club in Eden Lake Township to stay open until 2 a.m.
Any bar wishing to change their closing time to 2 a.m. must still apply to do so. Applications require a state fee, and the county is looking at whether the county should charge to cover its costs. This issue will come back to the county board.
A county ordinance will continue to require bars to close at 1 a.m. on Sundays.
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