As part of the ongoing public dialogue on Conditional Use Permits and downtown bars, Lafayette Consolidated Government will hold a public forum featuring Jim Peters of the Responsible Hospitality Institute.
Titled “Becoming a Sociable City & Enhancing the Nightlife Industry,” the free public event takes place Tuesday, June 14, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Warehouse 535 and is being presented in conjunction with The Knowledge Effect and Downtown Lafayette. Several topics will be discussed, including enhancing vibrancy, assuring public safety and offering responsible service. No registration is required, and there is no cost to attend.
“Since earlier this spring, we have been engaged in a public dialogue, listening to the thoughts and concerns of citizens and business people on utilizing the Conditional Use Permit process for new bars Downtown,” says LCG Planning, Zoning and Development Director Carlee Alm-LaBar in a release announcing the event. “Those conversations have been extremely helpful in uncovering concerns about safety and security Downtown. As we continue to explore possible solutions, we are glad to welcome an expert in the field to help our community address this complex issue.”
Peters, a national expert who assists communities in creating energetic and responsible entertainment districts, has helped develop policy solutions for communities across the country. During the public meeting, Peters will introduce attendees to RHI’s concepts of responsible hospitality and engage the audience in consideration of nightlife proposals.
In March and April, a series of public meetings were held to collect input on CUPs for new downtown bars. These meetings were held following a resolution passed in January by the Lafayette City-Parish Council directing the Zoning Commission to review bars as a conditional use in the Downtown District. The public’s feedback from those meetings was provided to the Zoning Commission (as the responsible body for reviewing all CUP applications) and to the CPC, which ultimately determines whether or not to permit conditional uses. Under the current code, bars are not a permitted use in the Downtown zoning district.
CUPs are a new tool in the zoning code as a result of the adoption of the Unified Development Code in 2015. Prior to the UDC, the old code took a blanket approach to permitting zoning uses (including bars) in each district, either permitting the use altogether or not at all. The CUP recognizes that certain uses may or may not be appropriate in a particular district and that additional factors should be considered.
In addition to Tuesday’s public forum, LCG staff, elected officials and community partners will also meet with Peters to seek advice on in evaluating complex policy issues and codes pertaining to public safety in an entertainment district.
For more information on the “Becoming a Sociable City & Enhancing the Nightlife Industry” public meeting, visit www.lafayettela.gov. For more information on The Knowledge Effect, visit www.theknowledgeeffect.org.