Saratoga Springs Is Forcing Bars To Push State For 2am Close
A controversial new measure is the latest in Saratoga Springs City Council’s increasingly wild swings at stomping out late-night violence in Spa City. On Tuesday, the City Council voted 3-2 to force businesses to push the NY State Liquor Authority for a new 2am bar closing time, whether the business supports it or not.
A November shootout on Broadway in Saratoga Springs was not the first violent act to happen downtown, but it did push the City Council over the edge on what they would tolerate from bars. Is this new step towards a curfew by-any-means-necessary an overreach?
Letter By Force
Spearheaded by Public Safety Commissioner James Montagnino, any Saratoga Springs bar or restaurant with a liquor license must include a form letter written by the city in their application to the State Liquor Authority requesting a 2am closing time change from the current 4am.
The Times Union reports that as of the vote on December 20, the mandatory letter campaign starts immediately – the next business to apply, or reapply, for a liquor license will be the first to “support” the new closing time, no matter how they feel on the issue.
The City Council’s tactics likely aren’t going to raise approval for a new close among business owners, but they likely don’t care. Whether or not the form letter specifically includes the business that’s submitting it, it will certainly give the appearance that every liquor-serving business in Saratoga Springs is on board with a 2am close.
Earlier in December, they tried and failed to pass an ordinance that could take a bar’s liquor permit if one of their patrons committed a crime after 2am within an hour of leaving the bar. The city has struggled with both business owners who want the two hours of extra income and Saratoga County. Saratoga County’s Board of Supervisors has the power to vote for a 2am closing time, but the rest of the county is loath to accept a two-hour loss because of the sins of one city.