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Will The Alcohol Zoning Changes Be Good For Downtown Logan?

Logan Main Street; Logan city officials and other stakeholders are discussing ways to improve traffic flow on Logan's Main Street.

The Utah Legislature passed new zoning rules concerning alcohol sales this year. That move has spurred several Cache Valley business owners to obtain an alcohol license.

H.B. 442, signed by Governor Herbert in March, cuts the distance restaurants serving alcohol must locate themselves from places such as schools, churches and parks; down from 600 feet to 300, effective in May.

Logan City Councilman Gene Needham is worried that serving more alcohol in Downtown Logan is a step in the wrong direction.

"If you go to a restaurant and there’s no alcohol available, you don’t drink," he said. "It seems like as a community we should be directing ourselves to not developing the social culture that likes to drink at every meal at every little restaurant in town."

Rep. Val Potter of Cache Valley said the regulations will be good for community business.

"Business in Downtown Logan -- it's growing but it struggles and anything we can do to encourage the flow of traffic moving downtown to shop and enjoy restaurants is a positive thing," he said. "I have no problems with drinking according to the law. I think people have to right to serve alcohol and people have the right to drink alcohol."

Larry Tanaka, owner of Tanaka Balance Yoga Studio and Health Café, was issued a license in April. He said it serves an important role in his business.

"We're happy because we're providing a demand for the community that's needed," said Tanaka. "We're providing a nice place where they can bring prospective business customers; it's a pretty neat location. It’s more than just the alcohol."

The legislation also bars the Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control from issuing variances for businesses not in compliance with the new rule.