Suspensions likely for bars

City Council moves forward on liquor law violation cases

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— Two more Steamboat Springs businesses face the possibility of liquor license suspensions when their owners appear before the city's liquor licensing authority next month.

During a hearing Thursday, the Steamboat Springs City Council, which serves as the city's liquor license authority, determined there was enough evidence that Fiesta Jalisco and Jade Summit failed alcohol compliance checks to move forward with a show-cause hearing in August. During show-cause hearings, the owners of businesses suspected of violating liquor laws by selling to underage customers can address the liquor license authority. The show-cause hearings also allow the liquor license authority to impose punishments on the businesses.

On Thursday, City Clerk Julie Jordan told City Council members she and other city staff members will meet with the owners of Fiesta Jalisco and Jade Summit to try to work out possible plea agreements. Similar arrangements have been made with other businesses that sold alcohol to minors. Those businesses typically have accepted a suspension of their liquor license for a period of one or more days.

The punishments -- as well as the hearings process -- are part of a new city effort to crack down on underage drinking by punishing the businesses that provide alcohol to minors. The businesses that have been subject to the new city ordinance were busted during random alcohol compliance checks conducted by the Steamboat Springs Police Department and undercover minors working with officers on the stings.

According to police reports given to council members, a Fiesta Jalisco bartender served alcohol to two underage people on May 5. Jordan told the council that the city decided to treat the failure as a single violation.

"Technically, two underage people were served alcohol, but at one point in time, so we figured it was a single violation," Jordan said.

Jade Summit reportedly failed the city's most recent compliance check, held June 16. Jade Summit owner Kevin Nerney reportedly served alcohol to an underage girl at the restaurant's bar, called the Pirate Pub.

The show-cause hearings for Fiesta Jalisco and Jade Summit are scheduled to begin at noon Aug. 3 at Centennial Hall.

-- To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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