LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- Last night the Lafayette Consolidated Government lifted a 15-year-old downtown bar ban that bar owners say restricted growth downtown.
The ban has been replaced with a conditional permit applications process.
Some residents who live downtown are worried that since the ban has been lifted that the area will be taken over by bars.
City Councilman Pat Lewis says that's not the case and that business owners will have to go through a strenuous process before opening a new bar downtown.
"It's not to say that someone wants to open up a bar then boom the snap their fingers and the bar is open. No. They have this process that they have to go through," explains Lewis.
By using the new conditional permit application process, LCG will be able to keep a watchful eye on new businesses opening downtown.
Lewis says, "We want to make sure about the capacity, how many people are inside of the location, the parking, the exact hours and what they are planning on doing inside of that location. They have this process they have to go through and it's gonna be a hard process."
"Not just as a bar owner but as a downtown or, investing in properties and investing in the downtown is growth it was time. It was time to lift the moratorium," says Gus Rezende, owner of Jefferson Street Pub downtown. He says he's glad LCG voted to lift the ban.
"We have tons of opportunity downtown and the moratorium was holding us back. So we are cautious, excited but cautious to make sure that the new permitting process will work correctly. But we are excited that I got passed and we look forward to more economic development downtown," says Rezende.
Both Lewis and Rezende say that we won't see any new bars popping up overnight. This permit process takes time and money, and LCG plans on working hard to ensure that any new business that opens downtown will thrive.