[Update: The CPC approved the two ordinances detailed in this story and added the McKinley Strip to the areas subject to the ordinances. The ordinances are scheduled to come up for final adoption on Tuesday, Sept. 20.]
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider introductory ordinances Tuesday designed to mitigate what Police Chief Jim Craft has characterized as an unmanageable situation on weekend nights downtown. The nearby Simcoe Strip is also subject to the ordinances.
Ordinance 203 is designed to address automotive “cruising,” defined as “driving a motor vehicle past the same traffic control point ... more than twice in any two (2) hour period between the hours of 8:00 P.M. and 5:00 A.M.” The ordinance grants grant police the authority to designate certain streets — Jefferson and Simcoe, chief among them — as “no cruise” streets, and holds the registered owner of the vehicle liable for the violation, regardless of whether the owner is behind the wheel. A first violation would warrant a $200 fine; second and third violations would be $300 and $500, respectively.
A second ordinance, 204, address so-called “go cups” — alcoholic beverages brought out to the street from the establishment where it was purchased. Use of go cups is a common practice, as evidenced on weekend mornings by the proliferation of empty cups discarded by bar hoppers the night before.
Ordinance 204 would prohibit having open alcoholic beverages on the street downtown and at the Simcoe Strip. The ordinance exempts events such as Festival International, Downtown Alive, Mardi Gras and ArtWalk as well as restaurants and cafés that have permits for al fresco dining. This ordinance holds both businesses and patrons liable and subject to penalty: Bars that knowingly allow customers to leave with go cups can face suspension or revocation of their liquor license and employees can face fines that begin at $500 for a first offense; people cited on the street with open alcoholic beverages can be subject to a $500 fine and/or jail time.
Council Chairman Jay Castille also says the council will discuss on Sept. 28 prohibiting 18-20 year olds from clubs downtown. “The administration wants to talk about it and some of the councilmen mentioned it,” Castille says, “but there won’t be any final ordinance coming forward at this time.” The council could, however, ask Lafayette Consolidated Government attorneys to draft an introductory ordinance addressing the issue, for which the Durel administration and Craft have expressed support.