Council to discuss alcohol ordinance

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— The Steamboat Springs City Council will discuss a "social host" ordinance as a means of curbing underage drinking at private residences.

The City Council, which is the city's Liquor License Authority, will discuss the ordinance during a meeting at noon Thursday at Centennial Hall. Steamboat Springs police officer Josh Carrell suggested that the ordinance be considered after he attended a conference in San Diego. San Diego already has the social host ordinance in place.

The ordinance, if adopted, would hold parents and other adults responsible for allowing persons under 21 to consume alcohol at the adult's home.

"We're trying to do our part to curtail underage drinking by preventing the use of alcohol on private premises," City Clerk Julie Jordan said. "The ordinance, if it is adopted, will not punish adults that had no knowledge the underage drinking was occurring. However, there are people in this town who rent condominium units for teens to drink at that the ordinance would target."

The social host ordinance would hold adults who knew about or provided alcohol for underage drinking parties responsible.

Parents or other interested community members are welcome to attend the meeting and provide comment, she said.

Kristi Brown, owner of the Cantina, said introducing a social host ordinance is a great idea because it targets another group responsible for underage drinking.

"Right now, as policy stands, everything targets the liquor license holder, which isn't helping us reach the goal of preventing underage drinking in our community," she said. "I think it's great the council is broadening its efforts to have more of an effect on the problem."

Brown said she thinks more underage drinking happens at private residences where parents provide alcohol to minors than in bars, restaurants and liquor stores.

"I'm happy to see (the City Council) is taking a multi-prong approach to this problem," she said.

In recent months the City Council has entertained several discussions regarding responsible liquor enforcement and is in the process of reaching a resolution about how often liquor servers should be trained and recertified.

In an attempt to offer more liquor serving training to businesses, the city is offering a TIPS, or Training for Intervention Procedures, course for all liquor serving or selling businesses. The course is being taught from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Centennial Hall. Hobart "Hobie" Early, a certified TIPS trainer with B&K Distributing, will teach the course. The cost is $30 per person. The successful completion of the course will satisfy the city's requirements for alcohol server training.

In other business Thursday, the City Council will have a show cause hearing for Mother's Deli. The business was cited in September for allowing a visibly intoxicated person to loiter on the business premises, which is against the law.

Jordan said city staff has offered a stipulated agreement in the case although Stephen Chavez, who owns the Mount Werner Road business, has not accepted it.

If Chavez does not accept the city's offer by Thursday's meeting, council may reschedule the show cause hearing, Jordan said.

Mother's Deli was cited for another violation in July for allowing open containers of alcohol to leave the premises. The state's Liquor Enforce-ment Division handled that offense by suspending the business' liquor license for five days in November. Because of the offense in July, the city is

handling the September offense as a second offense, which

carries a more severe suspension.

To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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