MOORPARK : Officials Reconsider Closing Bars Earlier

Moorpark officials were considering redrafting a proposed ordinance that would force restaurants and bars serving alcohol to close at 1 a.m. after questions were raised about its legality.

City officials said any new proposal would be reviewed by attorneys before it is presented to the City Council.

By imposing a blanket ordinance to close the businesses at 1 a.m., the city would violate a 56-year-old state law that allows alcohol to be served until 2 a.m., said John Pierce, an attorney with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, the state agency that regulates alcohol sales and consumption.

Moorpark City Atty. Cheryl Kane said the law gives cities the option of imposing conditions such as early closing times on businesses that serve alcohol.

The proposed ordinance would standardize the closing times for new and old restaurants and bars, which presently close between midnight and 2 a.m., according to Community Development Director Patrick Richards. It would also help police handle enforcement around closing time, he added.

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