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Midvale Journal

Officials discuss possible code change to ‘activate’ Main Street by allowing alcohol in designated public places

Mar 01, 2024 12:47PM ● By Travis Barton

Public spaces along Midvale’s Main Street, seen here during a walk and talk tour last fall, could see alcohol consumed outside under specific conditions. (File photo City Journals)

Alcohol could be allowed in public spaces such as outdoor patios attached to bars or events that include beer gardens if Midvale City officials change city code. 

The possibility comes after a discussion at Midvale’s Feb. 20 City Council meeting that saw city staff present the option as a way to “activate” Main Street. 

In the staff’s report it said this would “be pivotal in activating Midvale Main through events, creating a controlled environment for the consumption of alcohol when appropriate for the event.” 

The change is similar to models in other cities such as Salt Lake City, Ogden, Park City and Moab. Councilmember Bryant Brown pointed to a pizza place downtown that has small gating onto the sidewalk allowing alcohol consumption outside. 

Kate Andrus, the city’s RDA program manager, told the council this process started after recent restaurant and entertainment businesses on Main Street approached the city to enter agreements allowing outdoor dining. 

“That was the catalyst was that we wanted to make that available…to really help activate the street and continue having outdoor dining opportunities,” she said. 

As long as businesses followed regulations and had appropriate liquor licenses to serve alcohol in those areas, she said, they could do so. It would also allow events to host beer gardens (outdoor areas where beer and food are served, typically near greenery on shared tables). 

Andrus emphasized this would only be allowed if the licensed location has an approved site plan filed with the city and is also compliant with state and local regulations. The state is known for its stringent laws on alcohol consumption. 

The idea is to offer more benefits to local businesses while still maintaining public safety and following state law. 

Councilmember Dustin Gettel was concerned about other ramifications of the code change. He said during the meeting he understood doing this on Main Street with the proper licensing, but was nervous about its effect on other public spaces, like parks. 

“The public parks and public places (portion of the code) gives me a little bit of pause,”  Gettel said. 

Councilmember Heidi Robinson said these businesses would have licenses and permits on the line if they don’t remain accountable, adding that well-run and well-attended businesses can attract people to Midvale. 

“It’s not going to be the wild, wild west,” she said. 

The matter was only up for discussion in February and would still need to come before the council again before any potential approval. λ