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April 24, 2014

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Las Vegas City Council:

Moratorium may put cork in plans for new liquor stores on stretch of Fremont

Easy access to alcohol brings concerns about underage drinking and a potential increase in crime in the tourist area

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

A private security guard holds a dog in a choke chain on the Fremont Street Experience early Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013.

With 21 liquor stores already operating along or near the Fremont Street Experience downtown, the Las Vegas City Council is planning to hit the brakes on further such development in the area for at least six months.

The council will discuss a proposed moratorium on new liquor stores when it meets at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday at City Hall, 495 S. Main St.

Liquor store moratorium

There are 21 businesses licensed to sell closed containers of beer, wine or liquor in the five-block stretch of Fremont Street from Main Street to Las Vegas Boulevard.

At least four other businesses in the area have applied to begin selling alcohol, but those applications have been delayed since this summer over concerns there’s already an “oversaturation” of liquor stores along Fremont Street.

Easy access to alcohol has led to concerns about underage drinking and a potential increase in crime in the tourist area, prompting city officials to consider hitting pause on approving new applications until the city studies the issue further.

The council on Wednesday will consider a six-month moratorium on accepting applications to sell closed containers of alcohol along the five-block stretch of Fremont Street.

The city hopes to use the extra time to look at how many liquor stores is too many for Fremont Street and how adding more stores would impact crime and consumption, officials said.

Getting friendly

A month after introducing the plan to the public, Las Vegas officials are expected Wednesday to finalize a deal with North Las Vegas that will see the two cities share resources and find new ways to work together in hopes of cutting costs and making the two municipalities more efficient.

The formal agreement will last for six months and will result in a report with recommendations on ways the cities could benefit by sharing services.

The process will involve an outside consultant plus staff members from both municipalities who will study 10 areas to potentially share services, including economic development, redevelopment, finance and information technology.

Grants for new restaurants?

Two new downtown restaurants are seeking a helping hand from the city in the form of redevelopment grants.

The newly opened MTO Cafe, in the parking lot across from City Hall at 500 S. Main St., features a breakfast and lunch menu. Restaurant owners would receive $95,000 in redevelopment grants to help offset the $437,000 project cost.

Farther south in the Arts District at 1103 S. Third St. near Charleston Boulevard, a new restaurant is mixing music and noodle dishes at the site of a former beef jerky store.

Rock’N’oodles opened earlier this month and features a menu with over a dozen noodle dishes each inspired by a classic song. Dishes include “Great Balls of Fire” spaghetti and meatballs and the “Sweet Home Alabama” macaroni and cheese.

Rock’N’oodles is applying for a $38,150 grant from the city.

Applications from both restaurants will be heard by the council during the redevelopment agency meeting, which starts at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

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