Government & Politics

Kansas bill to allow alcohol in more outdoor areas signed into law

The Power & Light District in Kansas City was a popular place during the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament.
The Power & Light District in Kansas City was a popular place during the Big 12 men’s basketball tournament. along@kcstar.com

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed a bill into law to make it easier for local governments to establish outdoor drinking areas.

The substitute for House Bill 2277 authorizes cities and counties to establish “common consumption areas” where people can move around freely with alcoholic beverages.

Current state law allows temporary permits for the consumption of alcohol for special events.

But common consumption areas would be in place long term. Cities and counties could set the times and dates when alcohol is allowed.

Any public street in a common consumption area would have to be blocked off from traffic when alcohol is being consumed, according to the bill.

Supporters hope the measure will encourage cities and counties to establish areas similar to Kansas City’s Power & Light District, where restaurants and bars surround an open area and people can walk spot to spot with drinks.

The legislation stems from the development of Lenexa City Center, a large mixed-use development near 87th Street Parkway and Interstate 435 that will include a new City Hall building and a community center.

Part of the development is Lenexa Public Market, an 11,000-square-foot indoor marketplace. Lenexa officials expect local businesses to lease space within the market, including a tap room and a restaurant where customers can buy a drink.

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