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City revises zoning codes, trivia events now allowed at bars without an extra permit (basically)

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The City of Reno’s controversial decision early this year to make bars pay for additional permits in order to hold trivia games has been changed.

The Reno City Council last week approved sweeping changes to various codes relating to package alcohol, cannabis, adult businesses and live entertainment.

The city’s Chief Innovation and Experience Officer, Ashley Turney, early this year determined that DJ Trivia events at local pubs meant that those bars are supposed to buy cabaret licenses, according to Bret Schaeffer who owns 395 Craft Beer & Spirits in the North Valleys.

“I was told by the city of Reno and … Turney, that [trivia events] always fell under this and that there was a complaint about DJ trivia,” he said in late April. “We’ve seen our nightly Wednesday sales have gone down on the average of $600, which isn’t good, especially for our employees. Their tips have been cut in half.”

That determination was made after one business complained about a neighboring business holding trivia games. People called the change mandating cabaret licenses ridiculous and expensive for local businesses.

The city’s Angela Fuss last week admitted the city’s live entertainment regulations were negatively impacting businesses.

“The big issue is the businesses are saying this isn’t working,” she added. “We realized we were really inhibiting businesses. We have had many, many complaints.”

City Manager Doug Thornley said the code changes make it easier for businesses to comply with the code, and it’s less expensive and more accessible for business owners.

“What we found from a business complaint perspective…is maybe we went a little too far.”

Under changes made to various codes last week, cabaret licenses will no longer be required for indoor live entertainment activities at local businesses if the entertainment ends at 11 p.m. and the entertainment is indoors. 

That’s if there are less than six events a year, according to a city staff report. If there are more than six, a cabaret license will still be required.

“Our old zoning code did not call out live entertainment,” Fuss told the council. “What we found from a business complaint perspective as well as trying to administer is maybe we went a little too far.”

Outdoor live entertainment will be different, however, and has different restrictions, such as shutting down by 10 p.m. and security requirements.

Businesses can still apply for special use permits for potential exemptions to regulations. Downtown and midtown businesses also have different rules.

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Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.

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