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Hickory officials seek input on nightclub halt

City of Hickory officials are considering a moratorium on new or expanded bars, nightclubs and discos to give them time to study possible new limits on such establishments.

The Hickory City Council last week set a Sept. 2 public hearing on the proposal for a 120-day moratorium.

The council is expected to consider that same night whether to approve the freeze on new businesses that get most of their revenue from alcohol sales. Then city staff would draft a proposal to change the approval process for the enterprises.

The changes could include reducing the number of zoning districts where the city allows bars and clubs.

The proposed moratorium wouldn't include bars that sell significant amounts of food.

City officials have expressed concern about a rising number of police calls to the 14 bars and nightclubs across the city, Assistant City Manager Andrea Surratt said. Reasons for the calls have ranged from homicide and other violent crimes to drug and alcohol violations and disturbance of the peace.

The city could consider requiring new businesses of this type to get special-use permits, which require public hearings and site plans detailing owners' intentions for the establishments.

“That would give neighbors more of a voice,” Surratt said.

Hannah Mitchell: 828-324-0055