CLINTON — City of Clinton officials are taking a new approach to the rules that dictate what liquor serving establishments can allow underage patrons.
Instead of changing the monitoring plan for bars with under 21 exemptions, the Rules and Regulations committee this week considered changing the percentage of a bar’s gross sales as it relates to exemptions as well as the curfew for underage patrons.
The council last month rejected changes to the monitoring plan that would have made bar owners with under 21 exemptions issue wristbands to all patrons from the ages of 21 to 30 instead of those currently required to wristbands between the ages of 21 to 26.
Under the city’s current liquor ordinance, establishments where gross sales of items other than alcohol makes up less than 65 percent are required to obtain a class II exemption to host people younger than the legal drinking age.
However, many other cities require exemptions based on a 50/50 split.
Dave Holmes, Legend’s Bar and Grill owner, told the committee that alcohol makes up a little less than 40 percent of his gross sales. If the city were to adopt a 50/50 split such as Bettendorf, Burlington, Marshalltown, Cedar Falls and Mason City, Holmes would be required to have a class I exemption, which does not dictate the establishment follow the monitoring plan as is the case with a class II exemption.
The same rule would apply to the other dozen bar owners with under 21 exemptions if they met the 50/50 standard.
Before the city could lower the liquor sale limit, officials would like to redefine gross sales to include things such as pool table rentals, dart machines, pinball machines and other coin-operated machines.
Committee member Julie Allesee and fill-in committee member John Rowland asked City Attorney Jeff Farwell to come back with suggestions for new guidelines, which could include some stipulations about what portion of the 50 percent of non-alcohol sales needs to be from food sales.