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Ogden City Council postpones vote on social halls

Published March 13, 2013 1:30 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Earnie McKown is eager to get down to the business of booking area bands that pump energy into the Paris Cafe, an alcohol-free teen hangout that he operates in Ogden.

However, McKown will have to wait at least two more weeks. The City Council, on Tuesday, postponed a vote on the new definition of social hall, language that would allow live music to be offered in strip malls throughout the city.

"It's been clear that there's a lot of support for this type of a venue," Councilman Richard Hyer said. However, he and other council members voiced concerns about noise, hours of operation and other potential problems that could impact nearby residents. "I believe its a viable use," Hyer added, "but I do have concerns about our ability to make sure it's not getting out of hand. There's no indication that it has."

The Council voted unanimously to revisit the issue as a conditional use on March 26.

Several people spoke in support of McKown's business, including Mike Barbeau, who owns K & M Electronics right next door to the Paris Cafe.

"

He does a lot for the community as far as helping kids, giving them a place to go to have a good time without the harassment and the torture of the outside world," Barbeau said. "I have no complaints whatsoever about noise — and I'm next door."

Ogden resident Bernie White also spoke up on McKown's behalf.

"It seems like a private after-school program," White said. "Is it the opinion of the Council that only the government can do after-school programs?"

For McKown, who renovated the old strip-mall space and then had to put live performances on hold for several weeks, he said that city officials don't seem to understand his financial distress.

"If their intention is to let me get further in debt, that's my big concern," McKown said. "I really need my shovel back, guys, so I can dig out of this hole."

cmckitrick@sltrib.com

twitter: @catmck