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News Blog

Another bar lost to liquor regulation?

by Jesse Fruhwirth
- Posted // 2009-08-10 -

A cute, comfortable and classy addition to Salt Lake City's Marmalade District may succumb to liquor regulation.

The JAM (Facebook and Twitter @jamslc) on 751 N. 300 West may fall victim to Salt Lake City zoning regulations. JAM's owners are circulating a flyer asking "neighbors and customers" to attend the Planning Commission meeting Aug. 12 at 5:45 p.m. in room 326 of the City/County Building, located at 400 S. State St. They need the definition of the MU, or "Mixed Use" zone, to be rewritten to allow private-- er, uh, I mean, social clubs. I.E. - Wine, martinis, LIQUOR.

The owners also are hosting a "pre-meeting BBQ" at the bar tomorrow night at 7 p.m. where you can learn more about the issue.

This situation is basically this: JAM is allowed to sell beer only, at present. While the owners don't broadcast it everywhere, they've told several people that they will close--almost certainly--if they don't get their zone redefined soon. They've been open over 18 months, and they say they were promised at the onset that the city would deliver this zone change. When you walk into the bar, you can see the TLC and money they put into rehabbing their space. It's beautiful. For now, their super-cool liquor cabinets are empty.

So what's the problem?

At a February city meeting discussing liquor zoning, Utah's Mothers Against Drunk Driving and at least one neighbor to the bar raised concerns that local, neighborhood bars will increase drunk driving.

Because, I guess, you can't get drunk off of beer, or something.

Salt Lake City District 4 councilman Luke Garrott has been vocal on the issue. "We're not trying to be the suburbs. We shouldn't try," Garrott said after the February meeting. "We want to revive neighborhood commercial areas. Bars are a part of that."

It seems to me, however, that this is a much more typical culture clash, so engaging on the issue of drunk driving is a death spiral in the land of no data.

"When you want to put alcohol in any residential area, it's going to impact the kids," Art Brown, of Utah's MADD, told the Deseret News' Aaron Falk (twitter @aaronfalk). "When it begins to look to a young person like it's OK to have alcohol — it's right in my neighborhood — they form more positive attitudes about drinking."

Here is a whole exegesis of the the issue from City Weekly July 1.

The text of JAM's flyer is below:

--CUSTOMER NOTICE--

JAM has filed a petition with the city to make a text change in the MU zone where JAM is located. Making this change will allow JAM to file for a conditional use permit allowing a liquor license. Part of the process includes a number of public meetings. A public meeting will be held on

Wednesday August 12th at 5:45 pm in room 326 at the City and County Building located at 400 South and State Street.

We need our neighbors and customers to attend. This is your chance to tell city planning and zoning that JAM is the type of business you would like to see in the Marmalade District and a text change is needed in order for JAM to sell the products you would like to purchase. The city also needs to know that JAM has provided jobs in our community along with fundraisers for many local groups and provided a safe atmosphere for our community to meet. For more information, please come to a pre-meeting BBQ at JAM on Tuesday August 11th at 7 pm or contact JAM at 801-891-1162. Thanks for your support.

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