The New York State Liquor Authority approved a motion to change the time alcohol can be served from 4 to 3 a.m. during their meeting on June 19.
“It will go into effect immediately once a letter has been sent to the county,” said Bill Crowley, director of public affairs for the Liquor Authority.
Judy Garrison, Clerk of the Board of Supervisors said she is working with the County Attorney to figure out the protocol for notifying county business owners.
Chesterfield Town Supervisor, Vice Chair of the Public Safety Committee and Stop DWI Board member Gerald Morrow said he was very pleased with the decision.
“We shouldn’t have changed it in 2005, 3 a.m. is a good compromise, for now,” said Morrow.
The action overturns the 2005 decision made by the Essex County Board of Supervisors and the New York State Liquor Authority that changed the hours from 3 a.m. to 4 a.m., the state’s latest allowable time to serve alcohol.
An open forum held on June 13 invited county residents to air their approval or disapproval to State Liquor Authority representatives Dennis Rosen and Jaqueline Held. During the open forum, no county resident came forward to object the change but five people spoke in favor of the change including Morrow, Ticonderoga Police Chief Mark Johns, owner of the Mountain View Inn of Lake Placid Vic Kraus, along with Dough Terbeek and Mac MacDevitt of the Prevention Team in Ticonderoga. Rosen said that lack of disapproval made the decision to change the hours easier.
“At the meeting everyone seemed to be on the same page and everyone thought 2 a.m. would be a better time,” said Morrow. “Our work isn’t done yet.”
By limiting the time people are allowed to be served alcohol, Morrow said it would be a significant help to improving safety on roads in the early morning hours and help reduce the number of drunk drivers on the road.
“This is something long over due, we (the board of supervisors) should never have changed it to 4 a.m.” said Morrow.
Johns said at the June 13 meeting the late bar hours were diminishing the quality of life for early morning workers, runners and residents in Ticonderoga.
“I’m very pleased that the comments made at the meeting were heard by the State Liquor Authority representatives and that action has been taken,” said Johns.
MacDevitt said there needs to be a combined effort in the community to lower negative impact of alcohol on Essex County communities. Excessive alcohol use, he said, leads to a whole lot more problems for the community such as alcohol abuse, drunk driving, and domestic abuse.
“It’s really an impressive first step in the right direction for dealing with some of the problems in Essex County,” said MacDevitt. “Even one late night rowdy bar can negatively affect the quality of life for people in that town and have a negative economic impact.“
MacDevitt said in the state of New York there is a big push for alcohol to fuel economic development and in reality the shift comes at a higher cost for the state.
“The late night bars will claim that they are providing a public service – like providing food for late night arriving travelers or providing a needed element for Lake Placid as a tourist destination,” he said. “This is hard to credit since all bars in neighboring Vermont, including Burlington with its flourishing nightlife, close at 2 a.m. Also, the record suggests that these bars might be a net liability for tourism and quality of life for the residents of the area.”
Along with the change in “closing time,” law, the county-sponsored resolution, offered by Morrow, will do away with a law that prohibited the sale of alcohol between the hours of noon and 3 p.m. on Good Friday.