San Marcos voters could decide in November whether to extend bar hours to 2 a.m. from the current mandatory midnight closing time.
Under the state alcoholic beverage code, bars generally must close at midnight but city governments have the authority to extend that closing time to 2 a.m., either by ordinance or through a citywide referendum.
Downtown bar owner Allen Shy said he asked the city council to put the issue on the ballot in a letter this week. If the council declines a referendum, supporters of the 2 a.m. bar hours can force a city vote by collecting signatures from 10 percent of registered voters. That would be 2,782 this year, City Clerk Sherry Mashurn said.
Narvaiz said the council would schedule a special meeting for Thursday at which time the council may consider putting the question on the Nov. 4 ballot. The mayor said she supports the issue being decided by the city’s voters as a way to settle a recurring issue.
Acknowledging his obvious financial stake in the issue, Shy said extending bar hours is warranted from a public policy perspective. Encouraging university students to drink in a controlled environment would decrease rowdy parties that disturb neighborhoods and spawn other problems, Shy said.
In addition, the later bar closings are necessary to lure large groups and events to the San Marcos convention center, which will open in October along with an adjoining Embassy Suites hotel, Shy said.
“This makes sense on a lot of different levels and I think the community has matured to the point that it something that will be widely supported,” Shy said.
The city council is scheduled to discuss bar hours at a meeting next Thursday when they could vote to add the issue to an already crowded ballot that includes three city council seats and a host of proposed amendments to the city charter. In addition, of course, voters will decide federal, state and county offices including the U.S. president.
The city can chose to make the referendum nonbinding, City Attorney Michael Cosentino said.Email | Print