Tucson Entertainment Districts

What is an Entertainment District?
On April 26, 2010 the State Legislature approved HB 2596 which allows for Cities to designate an entertainment district – defined as an area with a significant number of Entertainment, Artistic and Cultural Venues, including Music Halls, Concert Facilities, Theaters, Arenas, Stadiums, Museums, Studios, Galleries, Restaurants, Bars and other related facilities.

What is the purpose of the Entertainment District?
Other than defining areas of Entertainment, Artistic and Cultural Venues, the Entertainment District only applies to liquor licenses that are restricted from locating within 300 feet of a Church or Charter School. Currently certain types of liquor licenses such as those for Restaurants and Hotels/Motels are able to locate next to any church or school throughout the City. This legislation allows for Cities, on a case by case basis, to approve the location of additional types of liquor licenses only if they are located in an Entertainment District.

Does this new legislation apply to all schools and churches?
No, the legislation only allows for these other types of licenses to be located near charter schools and churches, public and private schools are still restricted.

What are the benefits of an Entertainment District?
Having an Entertainment District designation provides more local control to what kinds of liquor licenses can locate next to Churches or Schools. The district provides options for the development of businesses downtown, vacant buildings and areas that have been hard to revitalize due to the current restrictions. New business ventures such as grocery stores, wine bars, and vendors are now possible on a case by case exemption process that only the City can grant, whereas the state cannot.

What is the process for getting this approval from Mayor and Council?
Any person seeking a liquor license would follow the normal procedure - this does not interfere with any aspect or requirement to obtain a liquor license. The application for exemption will only be needed if: 1) the place the applicant would like to locate is within 300 feet of a church or school, 2) they are requesting a type of license that is currently restricted from being located there, and 3) the location is within the map boundaries. We expect very few requests that meet all these conditions. For applications that do meet these conditions the applicant would have to meet all of the liquor license requirements and get Mayor and Council approval for the license, and also get Mayor and Council approval for the location/use as well. Without both of these in place the liquor license cannot be sent to the State for approval.

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