If you want to open a bar, you won’t be doing it in Gretna anytime soon.
At the request of Police Chief Arthur Lawson, the Gretna City Council has unanimously approved a moratorium on granting new liquor licenses and transferring existing licenses from one location to another.
Lawson asked the city to conduct a study on where its bars are located, what problems they create and how the city’s ordinances could be changed to deal with any such issues.
He said some bars have opened near residential neighborhoods, creating noise and parking problems for residents. Other bars started out as restaurants or convenience stores and now don’t have enough parking to accommodate crowds on nights they have live music or disc jockeys.
Councilman Milton Crosby said some bars have become problematic in District 1, which he represents.
The moratorium approved Wednesday night is for only 30 days, but the council is expected to extend it for about six months at its next meeting, when there will be a chance for advance public notice.
The moratorium will not affect existing bars or prevent a bar from changing ownership.
City Attorney Mark Morgan said there have been moratoriums in the past and the city already has gathered some of the information Lawson is seeking.
On another matter, the city will hold a public meeting this month to get input on pedestrian, lighting and landscaping improvements downtown.
The city is working with the Tulane School of Architecture on “A Vision for Downtown” and will take public comments at City Hall from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27.
The $30,000 study is funded by the Mayor’s Office and District 2 Councilman Joe Marino, whose district includes the study area, which is downtown between the Mississippi River levee and Fourth Street.
Marino said the plan will take into account that area’s capacity for special events and will focus on the riverfront near the ferry terminal and the block of Huey P. Long Avenue between First and Second streets, which includes the Jefferson memorial.
Those sites, he said, have “tremendous potential.”
Tulane’s Nick Jenisch said the study will inventory what pedestrian amenities exist downtown and discuss how they can be extended or connected. Slides will illustrate what kinds of improvements are possible, he said.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.