The Park Record Editorial, Aug. 14, 2010 |

The Park Record Editorial, Aug. 14, 2010

Overhead deck partiers could spoil it for the rest of us

Park City’s Old Town core is a vibrant hybrid of residential and commercial uses, just the kind of interface that is now in vogue among developers touting "walkable communities." But maintaining the delicate relationship between Main Street businesses and surrounding homeowners is a constant challenge that today’s town center planners would be wise to study.

Case in point: During Arts Festival weekend Park City police officers said they were compelled to tell several Main Street establishments to stop serving alcoholic beverages on their second-storey decks by 10 p.m. They cited concerns about rowdy guests, lots of drinking, and the potential for revelers to start tossing items off the decks onto the busy street below.

Enforcement of the rule drew complaints from some business owners who felt they were being unfairly disciplined on a weekend that is vital to their financial well-being. If that is so, we would suggest that they take enforcement matters into their own hands before neighbors complain or the police notice.

Law-enforcement agencies are to be commended for being proactive when it comes to crowd control. In the past, Arts Festival has been the trigger for a couple of unfortunate incidents, including a fire that demolished a Main Street business. So when they noted a crowd of particularly boisterous patrons last weekend, it is no wonder they took steps to keep them, and the rest of us, out of harm’s way.

On the other hand, the business owners who complained have a point too. Main Street is meant to be the pulsating hub of a lively resort town and turning off the lights at 10 p.m. just doesn’t cut it.

But one bar owner’s suggestion, that its time to review the city’s ordinance regarding alcohol service on outdoor decks, could backfire. He and his colleagues could find themselves with an even earlier bedtime, or by bringing attention to the issue they could force the city into stricter enforcement of the existing rule.

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So this is what we suggest: Don’t wake up mom and dad.

If bar and restaurant owners want the city to relax its rules a little, especially during special events, then they need to police their own premises with greater vigilance. That may mean hiring an extra bouncer or just keeping a closer eye out for intoxicated guests.

Main Street has a good thing going this summer and a lot of its mojo is taking place on outdoor decks. The best way to avoid an early curfew is to make sure that what happens on the deck stays on the deck.