No opposition shown to change bar hours in Essex County

Essex County Government Center, Elizabethtown

Essex County Government Center, Elizabethtown Photo by Andy Flynn.

— No one spoke against Essex County’s proposal to move last call at local bars from 4 to 3 a.m. during a public forum at the Old County Courthouse June 13.

In fact, most of the attendees said closing bars down at 2 a.m. would be more appropriate.

“Nothing good happens while alcohol is involved between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m.,” Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said. “When we first put it out there about shifting closing time to 2 a.m., we faced controversy in Saranac Lake, North Elba and Lake Placid because in Franklin County, bars can stay open till 3 a.m. We figured 3 a.m. was a good compromise.”

The measure put before the State Liquor Authority would change the times county businesses can sell alcohol. Currently, business owners in Essex County can serve alcohol between noon and 4 a.m. on Sunday and 8 a.m. to 4 a.m. every other day.

Morrow told State Liquor Authority representatives Dennis Rosen and Jaqueline Held that the extra hour is responsible for many health and safety hazards.

“In the Adirondack Park, where retail development is often restricted to our small hamlets, alcohol outlets are often tucked in close to school and residential housing. We are all working to revitalize life in our small villages,” said Mac McDevitt of the Essex County Prevention Team. “Bars stay open into the early hours of the morning and have a negative impact on the quality of life in our villages and actually work against economic development of village vitality.”

Ticonderoga Police Chief Mark Johns said the three club-like bars in Ticonderoga have patrons hanging out in the bar rooms until at least a half an hour after the 4 a.m. cut-off when all alcoholic beverages must be removed from the bar. After the bars close, Johns said people congregate on streets and sidewalks outside the bars and are loud, brash, and sometimes engage in criminal activity.

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