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College Station City Council plans to vote on two possible amendments to ordinance 2791. The ordinance, which was passed in March, bans outdoor drinking on Northgate. Since the ban, merchants on Northgate say they've seen a decline in business and they want the City Council to consider the economic impact the ban has had so far.
"It's definitely been slower because you don't have people coming on the promenade at night and mingling and bar hopping," said Rusty James, the assistant manager of Dixie Chicken.
"Most of the merchants I've talked to said they feel like their business is down compared to the same time last year," said Jessica Jimmerson, President of the Northgate District Association.
Business owners supported regulating outdoor drinking on Northgate, but they didn't support the ordinance that was passed in March and since then their feelings haven't changed.
"It seems like a strangle hold put is put on this area on some of our busiest days of the year," said Jimmerson.
The amendments proposed would change the ordinance in two ways. One the requirements for obtaining special events permits would not be as strict. In addition, outdoor drinking would be allowed on Aggie home game days and during the Northgate Music festival.
"More people will want to come out and experience Northgate the way it was meant to be with everyone having a good time outside," said James.
But the police department says the main issue is public safety and since the ban they have seen a significant decline in crime and issues with sanitation. In a presentation made this afternoon to the council, police chief Michael Clancey asked the council to vote against the amendment.
"Everybody has a different stake in the community. I believe that the point they were trying to make is public safety for all involved. I think everybody accepted that," said Chief Michael Clancey, College Station Police Department.
Business owners say they understand the safety issue and they are just as concerned. However, they feel the amendment is essential for the local economy.
"It will help the business that are here to stay vital," said Jimmerson.
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