I’m a West Hartford Gal… born and raised…went to West Hartford schools in fact, my parents still live in the same house I grew up in. I love this town…but, let’s face it…It has the reputation for being stuffy, snobby and a little bit uppity. So, when the Town of West Hartford decided that it wanted to improve its downtown area, I was kinda surprised. I never thought in a million years they would want to have the nightlife that Downtown Hartford had. Months later Blue Back Square was born and many outsiders began to visit West Hartford on a weekly basis. College kids and early Thirty-Somethings who once frequented the Downtown bars in Hartford were now going to places like Barcelona, Bar Taco, McLaddens and World of Beers. It brought a whole new demographic, the spending generation, to the once dead West Hartford Center.
But, now it looks like this is all going to come to an end. According to an article in the Hartford Courant, a proposed ordinance aimed at bringing peace and quiet to the town center would require businesses to shut down live music and DJs by 11 p.m. basically eliminating all night life from West Hartford Center….Crazy right??
The ordinance, discussed briefly at Tuesday night’s town council meeting, would also require businesses to purchase annual entertainment licenses and hire police to work security if the chief deems it necessary.
Currently, DJs may play music until 2 a.m, and police say when the music is turned off , customers begin to leave…and in the process they can cause neighborhood disturbances. (Well DUH…when the music stops it means it’s time to go home, it’s not the patrons fault that these businesses are in residential areas…they knew this when they allowed these businesses to open!!)
According to the proposal, the ordinance would require businesses that offer live music and DJs to pay a $500 fee to apply to the police chief for an entertainment license. The license would be valid for one year and failure to have a license could result in fines of up to $250 a day. The ordinance would also allow the police chief to review a business’ incident reports and determine whether a police detail is necessary for “public safety purposes”. This is because West Hartford is trying to restrict Bars that are being run like Clubs, which violates the zoning laws in town. So, if the police department thinks your bar is “BAD NEWS” they will require a police officer to be onsite at owners expense.
Under the proposed ordinance, entertainment would be allowed from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday.
Right there is the problem…you are now telling businesses that solely rely on nighttime customers that they can’t entertain that crowd after 11p, and most people leave as soon as the entertainment is done, which was causing the problems in the first place… On top of that…you are requiring the bars to pay for a “license” to have entertainment. What will end up happening is the bars and restaurants won’t survive. DJs and Bands will be out of jobs…because bars most likely won’t want to invest in band/DJs if they can only have them on til 11p, and these bars will eventually close. As much as the town of West Hartford wants the business, restrictions like this will cause businesses to fail. Let’s be honest, bar business is 21-35 year olds, who have expendable income and like to be out past 11p. Not to mention, what about those 20 to 30 somethings who work til 11p. Now they have no place to go if they want to unwind and check out a cool band for a couple of hours not even on the weekend!
Exemptions include music or dance studios, churches and schools. (Which makes sense because when is the last time you heard a church party raging it up until 2am)
You could voice your opinion at the next hearing… Oct. 13 6:30 p.m. in Room 314 of town hall.