Council to consider moratorium on opening, expanding bars on E. Capitol Street

(WAFB)
Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 6:22 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A proposal from one Jackson City Council member could temporarily block new bars from coming to East Capitol Street.

Ward 7 Councilwoman Virgi Lindsay is set to introduce an ordinance at next week’s council meeting to place a 12-month moratorium on the opening of new bars along the portion of the roadway located in the Downtown Jackson Central Business District.

The proposal comes as the city works to address crime along the corridor, which some say has been brought about by some of the bars located there.

“This will give us the opportunity to push the pause button and look at our ordinances to determine how we can better manage the bars and nightclubs in our city,” she said.

The measure will be introduced at the July 5 council meeting, but it’s unclear whether the ordinance would be voted on.

Typically, ordinances are not voted on at meetings where they are first introduced.

According to a copy of the proposal, the measure would prohibit the “establishment, creation or expansion of bars operating on or adjacent to” the portion of Capitol in the Central Business District.

The affected area is bound by Amite Street to the north, Pearl Street to the south, State Street to the east, and Mill Street to the west.

If passed, the moratorium would not affect bars that are already under construction or establishments that have already received permits from the city to open or operate, Lindsay said.

Downtown Jackson Partners President John Gomez says he supports the proposal, saying DJP asked for it due to recent violence on Capitol Street.

“We just know it’s a public safety issue. We feel it would be a good time to look (at bars) holistically,” he said.

A copy of the ordinance states that the Capitol Street corridor “has received significant media attention that is detrimental to the CBD’s development.”

It points to one incident where “residents reported over 100 rounds fired by semi-automatic weapons in or around a bar operating on Capitol Street during a time in which crowds were congregating in the area, putting patrons, residents, employees and other persons at serious risk of bodily injury or death.”

Several incidents have been reported on Capitol this year. In May, residents were awakened by what sounded like gunfire in the street. Witnesses told WLBT that people were running from the Daquiri Bar, while video footage showed the aftermath as people ran from the scene.

In April, The Daquiri Bar was again at the center of controversy, with downtown residents saying they had been threatened by bar patrons and that they had observed drug dealing and drag racing in front of the business.

“We have so many people leaving downtown because they feel it is no longer safe to live, businesses as well,” Lindsay said. “We have to stop and take a closer look at this.”

Daquiri Bar officials were not immediately available for comment.

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