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.Email | Print