Lark Street closing hours a mixed bag for all

After a heated debate, the City of Albany has reached a decision on how long nightspots can stay open. Some business owners and patrons will like it, some will hate it, and residents who objected to ultra-late hours they say has led to quality-of-life issues will continue to be unhappy.

As reported on the Times Union website today,"Established nightspots on Lark Street and nearby side streets can continue closing at their normal hours, some as late as 4 a.m. Late last week city officials and Lark Street business owners reached a compromise over a proposed 2 a.m. closure, allowing businesses that already have permission to stay open until 4 a.m. to keep those closing hours. For some businesses like Palais Royale on Jefferson Street, the closing hours proposed would have darkened the city mainstay at 11 p.m. The decades-old bar typically is open until 4 a.m.

"While established businesses with the legal right can remain open until 4 a.m., the closing restrictions outlined in the citywide Albany ReZone would have to be adhered to by new businesses, city Planning Director Chris Spencer said.

Shauna Collins, executive director of the Lark Street Business Improvement District, was quoted as saying the changes meet “the majority of our needs.”

As the story also notes, "Area residents had said they struggled for years with the noise, broken bottles and vomit on doorsteps after bars let out at 4 a.m., and hoped earlier closing times might cut down on problems."

Go here for the full story.

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