Iowa City 21 and over ordinance heading back to voters - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City 21 and over ordinance heading back to voters

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Soon, 19 and 20 year olds may be allowed to stay inside Iowa City bars after 10 p.m. each night. The ordinance that set the bar entry age at 21 following a city-wide vote three years ago is being challenged.

"It's OK with me," said bar owner David Steim. "We all as downtown bars have to do a good job of policing our patrons. There's just too much at stake and I would trust they're doing the same things as we are to curb underage drinking."

Employees at 2 downtown bars began a petition to repeal the ordinance, hoping to bring in more customers. Tuesday night, the Iowa City City Council will decide to send the issue to city voters on November 5.

Some people in their 20s say they wouldn't mind seeing their younger friends allowed in bars, too.

"If it was 19, 20, it'd be better so people would have another outlet," said Kasey Forester, 22.

"I think it's just a part of the college experience," said Dakota Lamaack, 21.

The City Council is expected to unanimously support keeping the ordinance as is.

"It's been a very positive thing for people in Iowa City and for young people within a 200-mile radius," said Connie Champion, Iowa City City Council member. "We have less fights downtown, we have less vandalism, we have less students being arrested. We don't have the big increase in house parties that people predicted."

This will be the third time Iowa City voters hit the polls on the 21 and over ordinance. The reason the issue keeps coming up for debate is based on the way Iowa City's charter is written.

"The city charter allows citizens to force to a election any decision that the city council makes that they don't like, except for zoning issues," said Champion.

So no matter what happens in the upcoming election, this issue could be up for debate again in another two years.

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