If law expires and nobody notices,
does it still make music?
Published: March 1, 2013
THE ORDINANCE adopted in 2005 that
allows restaurants and bars in Carmel to have live music expired
more than a year ago, but nobody realized it.
That is, until associate planner Marc Wiener discovered that
the law — which overturned a 66-year-old ban on venues that
serve alcohol from having live musicians entertain their
customers — included a sunset clause effective Nov. 6, 2011. The
law amended Carmel Municipal Code sections on “public peace,
morals and welfare” that made it illegal for anyone to hold a
public dance “or any form of entertainment” or play live
instruments anywhere alcohol was sold and served.
At the Feb. 13 planning commission meeting, he asked
commissioners to recommend the city council readopt the law,
this time with no sunset clause, so it doesn’t fall off the
books again. He also suggested removing the requirement that
businesses renew their live-music permits every three years, in
order to save city employees’ time.
“The city has issued several permits over the last four years,
and there have been very few complaints related to live music
activities,” Wiener said in his report.
Chairman Michael LePage noted that violators are subject to
enforcement actions, making the three-year renewal requirement
somewhat superfluous, so he supported Wiener’s suggestions.
“If the applicant is violating, they are reminded of the
conditions,” he said, observing that the city also has the power
to revoke permits when people don’t follow the rules.
LePage made a motion to recommend the council reauthorize the
ordinance as Wiener had suggested, and commissioners unanimously
agreed, except for Steve Dallas, who had left the meeting by
then due to illness.
After the meeting, Wiener told The Pine Cone the city has
approved three live music permits since the ordinance expired,
and they will have to be reissued by the planning commission
after the law is back on the books. In total, there are fewer
than a dozen active permits for live music at venues that serve
alcohol in the city.
The city council was initially set to consider reauthorizing
the law at the March 5 meeting, but the matter was pushed to the
April 2 agenda, according to Wiener.