The Good Life Sports Bar on 180th and Pacific streets had a history of selling alcohol to minors, and former owner Chad McMahon was set to lose his liquor license before selling the bar. The Omaha City Council approved a liquor license for the new owner, Aaron McKeever, during Tuesday’s meeting.
Chris Wagner from Project Extra Mile, a non-profit that works to prevent alcohol-related harms, said McKeever’s plan to retain former employees would also retain the “culture of allowing under-age drinking.”
McKeever, who owns other bars around Omaha with no violations, said all employees would be given training on checking IDs. Employees will only be allowed to stay on if they go through the training, McKeever said.
“It comes with layers of training that come down from ownership to management to our GM,” McKeever said.
Wagner said the previous owner was never held accountable, as McMahon sold the bar before the City Council could take action. The City Council delayed voting on a repeal to allow for an investigation.
“Once it was clear charges were going to be made, this council was poised to repeal that license and I think that’s what led to the sale of the business,” Festersen said. “So it’s not like this council wasn’t taking action, in fact, I think that’s why we’re here today.”
Also during Tuesday’s meeting, the City Council heard over 90 minutes of testimony on three rezoning ordinances with opposition from neighbors.
A rezone for property at 8557 Boyd Street was put on file because the applicant, Alvin Okereke, couldn’t provide adequate information to neighbors or the council. Councilmember Aimee Melton said they chose to put it on file instead of denying it so Okereke could reapply after providing more information on the project.
“We want to listen to the neighbors, but we also want development,” Melton said.
The City Council approved an ordinance to rezone property at 4615 Davenport Street, along with a recommendation to the developer, Chad Ahlvers, to work with residents on making sure the plan is consistent with the neighborhood. Ahlvers didn’t have a final plan for the lot, and said he wanted to build something within a few years.
Another rezoning ordinance for property south west of 162nd and Ida Streets was approved
“If there’s a lesson from the day, and all the rezonings we’ve heard today,” Festersen said. “It is that we do expect some level of detail.”
The Omaha Public Works department gave an update on storm recovery to the City Council during Tuesday morning’s pre-council meeting. Saturday night’s storm resulted in flooding that caused damage across the city, concentrated within Councilmember Danny Begley’s district.
City engineer Todd Pfitzer told Councilmember Begley that the infrastructure in that area is older, and Saddle Creek Road’s location makes it prone to flooding. To prevent flooding on Saddle Creek, Pfitzer said the entire road would have to be torn up and replaced.
Pfitzer said construction around Gene Leahy Mall likely didn’t impact the flooding, an idea that Councilmember Brinker Harding said was popular on Twitter.
“We could engineer a system to handle a storm like this,” Pfitzer said. “But it would cost billions of dollars.”
Douglas County Health Director Lindsay Huse gave her weekly COVID-19 and vaccination update to the board of commissioners Tuesday morning. Cases and hospitalizations are continuing to rise, including one pediatric hospitalization.
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