Lawrence bar owners, get ready. City leaders are serious about entertainment licenses.
The fallout from the shooting of three people early Sunday morning outside Last Call, 729 N.H., continued Monday as local leaders offered ways to deal with what they say is a bar that is a public nuisance.
Lawrence Mayor Sue Hack, after an unrelated meeting with county and school district leaders Monday morning, didn't hold back when talking about bringing Last Call under control.
"I think what's at stake is the survival of downtown," Hack said. "Who would want to come at any time to some place they felt they were going to be harmed?"
In addition to saying the city expected the help of entertainment and hospitality businesses in implementing licensing, Hack also broached the idea of special-use permits. First considered last year, special-use permits would require the City Commission to vote every three to five years whether a drinking establishment should be allowed to operate. A similar plan regulates other businesses, including homeless shelters.
"(Owners) are going to have to support us in this because the violence we're having downtown will hurt all of us," Hack said. "Downtown is a very precious part of this community."
City commissioners are expected to talk about the issue within the next two weeks.
District Attorney Charles Branson, however, isn't waiting for the city. Branson said he's asked police for any information they have about incidents at Last Call. Branson is reviewing reports, looking for violations of the public nuisance law or perhaps for having a 15-year-old inside of the club.
Lawrence Police Sgt. Paul Fellers said the investigation was ongoing into the 3 a.m. Sunday shootings, and police still want to talk with anyone who might have information. The three victims - two Last Call employees and a 15-year-old Topeka boy who had been a Last Call customer - remained in area hospitals, recovering from gunshot wounds.
Neither Last Call owner Dennis Steffes nor his attorney, Daniel Owen, returned messages seeking comments Monday.