City discusses drinking concerns outside bars

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

While the New Prague City Council unanimously approved a patio for Miller's Tap at its Monday meeting, it discussed a secondary issue, specifically people taking alcoholic beverages outside of liquor establishments.

New Prague City Administrator Jerry Bohnsack explained that the discussion was prompted by the Wednesday, May 28, New Prague Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. David Larson, owner of the business at 114 West Main Street, made the request for the patio that will be in the private alley east of Miller's Tap. During the public hearing residents voiced concerns about people consuming alcohol on the sidewalks and walking from bar to bar with drinks.

Councilmember Kay Wilcox, who is also on the planning commission, said the commission thought the council should be aware of this issue.

Police Chief Mark Vosejpka noted that as of July 9, 2007 the city has had an ordinance against people having alcohol on public streets. Police officers have been enforcing it by trying to educate people first by talking to owners of liquor establishments and patrons about complying, lately officers have been writing out citations. Over the last weekend, the police department issued six people citations in different locations along Main Street for having alcohol.

Wilcox asked if it would be appropriate for residents to call if they see someone with alcoholic drinks on the sidewalks. She also asked if signs in bars with the ordinance would help.

Vosejpka said yes, although sometimes it may not be liquor, twice over the weekend they stopped people who had cups of ice water. It may create the idea that nothing was done, when something actually was. He said the signs might help.

How do you think this can be minimized

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