ST. GEORGE — In a measure designed to protect the family-friendly atmosphere in the Arts District, the St. George City Council voted unanimously to reduce the number of available bar permits from four to two Thursday.
Mayor Tempore Jimmie Hughes was happy with the decision, saying that he wanted to err on the side of caution.
“We had a lot of calls and emails from other businesses in the area, “Hughes said. “They’re all concerned about having so many bars in such a concentrated area. We want to make sure the Arts District doesn’t turn into the bar district.”
Zion Brewery’s Station No. 2 and the unnamed Feellove lounge are steps from one another, just across Main Street. Wood Ash Rye and Hive 435 will be neighbors, should the latter’s license be approved at the state level.
While there are two bars operating in the arts district now – Station No. 2 and Wood Ash Rye – there are two others that have been given the green light by the city. Those are Hive 435, and an as-yet-unnamed lounge proposed by Jasher and Lisa Feellove. Both are still waiting for their licenses to be approved by the state.
“What this means is that if those two get denied by the state for some reason, or if their conditional use permits are revoked, there won’t be two spots for new bar establishments in the arts district,” Councilwoman Dannielle Larkin told St. George News Sunday.
Larkin said that she doesn’t want citizens to think that the council is restricting the free market, but she also feels it’s important to protect the Arts District’s family friendly atmosphere.
“It’s a challenging decision,” she said. “I’d like to see the number of bars in the area more spread out. A bar or two feels right, but more may be overdoing it.”
Hughes – leading the council meetings after Jon Pike resigned as mayor of St. George for a position in the Gov. Spencer Cox administration – added that should the need for more bars arise, he’s open to changing the ordinance.
“We’ll see what the demand is, and whether having this many bars there causes any problems,” Hughes said. “If everything goes well, we can always change the ordinance. Until then, this feels like the safe thing to do. You never know what’s going to happen.”
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