It's time to face the facts and come to an agreement

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

It’s time to raise our heads from the murkiness around the rules of society and take a deep breath. It’s time to acknowledge the grey areas that will always exist in a democracy and in human relations. And it’s time to say, let’s work together to make sense of things and not elevate conflict for the sake of egos.

It’s time for the mayor, the police chief, the Police Benevolent Association and perhaps even a certain business owner to come together and face the facts.

The facts are there is a law that has been enforced by the police and has been followed by many other establishments in Yates County for many, many years. And tonight, those establishments will all stop serving alcoholic beverages by 1 a.m. - because that’s the normal course of business in Yates County.

But if you follow the logic that because no one can produce a Yates County law that establishes the Dec. 24 closing time as 8 p.m. - then perhaps police should not enforce the state law that refers to that closing time - and maybe the establishments could stay open until 4 a.m.

That’s right. 4 a.m.

The New York State Alcoholic Beverage Control law states:

“No alcoholic beverages shall be sold, offered for sale, or given away upon any premises licensed to sell alcoholic beverages at retail for on-premises consumption during the following hours:

   * Sunday, from four antemeridian to 12 noon

    * On any other day between four antemeridian and eight antemeridian.”

It appears the only reason Yates County establishments stop serving alcohol at 1 a.m. any other day of the year is because the local guidelines established in 1971 by the Yates County Board of Alcoholic Beverage Control set that time. That board, whoever they are, set that hour at the same time it set the 8 p.m. Christmas Eve hours.

If police officers do not enforce the 8 p.m. Christmas Eve hours because the mayor hasn’t seen a Yates County Law stating that time, then what should those officers do if a business owner attempts to serve alcoholic beverages until 4 a.m.?

Should that question be answered by the State Alcoholic Beverage Control Board? Should it be answered in court?

Or, should it be discussed and decided openly by the local officials here in the Village of Penn Yan and communicated clearly and in writing, if necessary, to local business owners so that everyone involved has a clear understanding of the situation?

Is it a question that perhaps should be re-considered at a county level? Who is the Yates County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board anyway?

But, it’s a question that is part of our local decision-making process. And it’s pretty clear, it should be answered after civil discussions that don’t involve other agendas.