Council says no to later hours for Outer Limits

Published 8:28 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Bainbridge City Council voted to deny a request from the operators of the Outer Limits Fun Zone that would have allowed the popular youth hangout to stay open later at night for special occasions.

Outer Limits is currently located in the Central Business District zone, in what was formerly a hardware store and floral shop. When the City Council approved a conditional use permit for the center to operate in its current zoning, the council stipulated that the center had to close no later than 10 p.m. each night, out of regard for nearby residences.

Mills had asked for permission to do two things: hold occasional “lock-in” events during which kids would stay inside the center from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next day; and to be able to stay open until 2 a.m. on certain weekend nights to hold special events such as birthday or graduation parties. In the latter scenario, no one would be allowed to enter after 10 p.m., according to Mills.

Email newsletter signup

However, the City Council, voting unanimously with Phil Long and Dean Burke not present, to uphold the recommendation of the Bainbridge Planning Commission to deny Mills’ conditional use request. Deputy City Manager Dustin Dowdy, who performs planning and zoning duties for the city, had also recommended denial. In a memo to the Planning Commission, Dowdy wrote: “The location of the business is encompassed by a residential neighborhood, making the compatibility with the district difficult.”

Three downtown residents had aired complaints to city officials about noise and late night foot traffic they believed was caused by Outer Limits.

However, Mills and his business partner Darla Haire and several other supporters of the family entertainment center told officials they had worked to address neighbors’ concerns and comply with the 10 p.m. closing time. According to Mills, several hired security guards work at the center on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Planning Commission member Greg McDonald, who stated that he had taken a tour of Outer Limits on a Friday night and thought everything ran smoothly. He made an unsuccessful motion at the Planning Commission meeting to allow Outer Limits to stay open until 2 a.m. for scheduled events, but not lock-ins. The motion died for a lack of a second.