Tuesday, July 18, 2006

"You sleep in the bed you make."

An article in last Thursday's Davis County Clipper has made me think about the past a bit. The article talks about Bountiful City's decision to deny a beer license for El Matador restaurant. I applaud the City Council for taking such a step. Not so much for denying a beer license, but, more for standing up for their own ordinance.
Artoosh Hasratian, owner of the El Matador, at one time contemplated re-locating in Woods Cross. I know he was made aware of our beer license ordinance and where he could and couldn't locate. I'd be very surprised if the same thing didn't happen in Bountiful. He chose to build his restaurant where he did. There are other places he could have built. He could have even chosen to build in Woods Cross at 700 South and 700 West. There is a nice vacant spot there that would be perfect for a restaurant.


Eric Richardson said...


I enjoy reading your blog. You're often "right on" IMO. But here I have to disagree with you...

I'm all for consistency--although I'm sure you'll recall several times you changed an ordinance as a councilman when you thought it necessary. Admittedly, there's a fine balance between consistency and necessary updates to resolutions and ordinances. But, from what I've observed, that's not what happened here.

Bntfl passed an updated beer ordinance that was suspiciously timed with Artoosh being swayed from relocating to a new W Bountiful location or the fine WX location and going to Bntfl. Seems like Artoosh took considerable time to find what he felt was the best location for his business. It also seems connected that the Bntfl ordinance was specifically modified to allow the CC to grant a variance to their preexisting 600 ft requirement exactly when he was deciding where to locate.

Looks to me like they said, "hey, come to our town. Your restaurant will revitalize our Main Street. We'd love to have you. And look, we even modified our beer ordinance for you." Why would they modify their ordinance to allow for a variance if they didn't intend to ever grant one? That would be similar to the common misperception with conditional uses: they are uses with conditions attached and NOT conditioned on how the legislative body feels about a particular applicant. Consistancy would have come from NOT changing the original ordinance to allow for the variance. Sorry, but sans evidence to the contrary, I'll chalk this one up to public clamor rather than a noble virtue.

Just think: maybe if Bntfl had played fair, he would have chosen WX...or at least he could have made a better business decision on where to relocate . Just one guy's opinion though...

Eric Richardson
Cedar Hills City Council
Former WX Resident

Thad said...

You're right, Eric, almost. I would agree with you, except, ground was broken for the new El Matador in July 2005. The Bountiful City Council changed their ordinance to allow a variance two months later in September. Now, it is possible that Artoosh was given some assurances that the ordinance would be changed and he would be allowed to obtain a license, but, Aesop said, "Do not count your chickens before they are hatched."

Eric Richardson said...

Alright, I acquiesce :) Thanks for pointing out the "evidence to the contrary" I was looking for. I guess I was relying too much on my recollection instead of researching it again. Shame on me!

Who knows what the negotiations where or where not...but I especially wouldn't have counted my chickens in the middle of election season!

Still, it doesn't make any sense to me why the Bountiful Council would change the law in September when they had no desire to grant the variance in July? Did their council (and the votes) change in their last municipal election? And more important, why didn't they just grant the variance then? Or not change the law at all???

I guess its just another example of the inconsistencies of politics!

Eight Hour Lunch said...

Ok...I'll probably be the only one here to say this, but why on earth should there even be any beer ordinance in the first place?

What business does the government of a (supposedly) free country have in telling a person what they can or can't sell on their own property?