San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 29th, 2011
TABC authorizes city to restrict alcohol downtown

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The Courthouse Square in downtown San Marcos on July 16. PHOTO by SEAN BATURA

STAFF REPORT

On July 26, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission granted the San Marcos City Council’s request for the authority to prohibit open containers of alcohol and alcohol consumption in outdoor areas in the city’s central business district.

The San Marcos City Council will have to approve an ordinance on two readings before the prohibition takes effect. San Marcos city staff will soon begin the work of crafting such an ordinance for the council’s consideration. San Marcos Police Chief Howard Williams, who will be involved in writing the ordinance, said councilmembers will probably not vote on the new law until the first council meeting in September or later.

The prohibition would likely be in force only during late night hours, Williams said.

“But then once it (the ordinance) passes, we’re going to have about a 30-day…education period where we’re not really going to be writing tickets or anything, we’re just going to be informing people, ‘This is the law, you can’t have it (alcohol) out here.’ We’re going to put up some signs in the central business area that (say) open containers and public consumption of alcohol is prohibited in this area,” Williams said.

Williams said the city’s Extended Bar Hours Task Force will help city staff craft the ordinance.

According to Williams and the EBHTF, the extension of bar hours had little effect besides a decrease in noise complaints and an increase in arrests for the offense of driving while intoxicated. Taverns in San Marcos closed at midnight most days before the city, two years ago, authorized bars and restaurants to sell alcohol until 2 a.m.

During a city council meeting in June, Williams said the amount of calls for police service downtown has not changed significantly since the extension of bar hours, though he said more people congregate outside bars and drink alcohol on the sidewalks and on the Courthouse Square.

“These people are causing us a problem because there’s no one in control of them,” Williams said.

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3 thoughts on “TABC authorizes city to restrict alcohol downtown

  1. So will it be ok to drink a beer on the sidewalk at 4 in the afternoon? I’m not sure I understand the point if this law. Just another way for the city to target college students and raise revenue.

  2. Its not just college students out at 2am. I also cant believe that the only effects of 2am are noise reduction and more DWI. I think because this thing was passed by the voters someone is playing with the numbers to make themselves look good. I go out downtown and always see some drunk fool causing trouble. Usually there are no cops around to deal with their foolishness.

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