The outcome:

On 5/19/15, St. Charles City Council voted to extend the hours for the performance of live music in businesses serving alcohol to 10pm on Friday and Saturday nights.

Original zoning did not allow live music in businesses with liquor licenses; in 2012, the zoning was changed to allow live music in businesses with liquor licenses to the hours of 8pm outdoors and 9pm indoors. Successive incremental extensions of live music hours eventually change the character and volume of the music... and the character of the neighborhood.

Degradation of standards has a direct impact on the potential envisioned by so many who have worked, volunteered and invested for decades.

Every decision is critical in the context of the whole.



The Case Against Live Music in Businesses Serving Alcohol in the South Main Historic District:

The combination of music and alcohol is the issue. The provision in our original zoning that prohibited the combination of music and alcohol was a powerful key pin that protected the character, quality of life and quality of business in the Historic District.

The North Main bar scene began at a far less intense level. If nightlife is encouraged on South Main with live music, the trajectory on South Main is predictable. Live music encourages people to stay longer, drink more and loiter in the street between establishments.

There are ~60 places of residence on South Main. The activity surrounding music and alcohol cannot fail to impact residents. Whether or not the music is indoors, those who have stayed to drink more will make their way on the street and sidewalks to their cars. Residents are subjected to the noise and revelry. Taxpayers are obliged to foot the bill for a much larger list of police calls. Property owners suffer the inevitable consequences of nightlife.

There is nothing to gain by promoting nightlife on South Main... and everything to lose.

The consequences of nightlife entertainment often include the following:

  • crime / vandalism
  • property values trend down
  • character degrades
  • marketing efforts suffer
  • property damage increases
  • available properties are no longer attractive to non-alcohol tenants and buyers
  • public expenses for increased police protection
  • general decline