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Layton halts late-night beer sales

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LAYTON — City leaders don't mind you buying beer in their city. They just don't want you to do it at 4 a.m.

The city, in hopes of making Layton streets safer at night, put a new law into effect Sunday that prohibits the sale of beer from 1 to 6 a.m.

Before Sunday, Layton was one of three cities in Davis County where beer was sold 24 hours a day. Both Syracuse and Kaysville still sell beer through the night.

Because Ogden and Salt Lake City don't sell beer late at night, Layton Police Chief Terry Keefe said Layton was seeing a number of out-of-towners driving into the city to buy beer.

Keefe said people driving to buy beer in the middle of the night often have already been drinking and shouldn't be on the roads.

"It's something we don't need," he said.

The ordinance was Keefe's idea. He said most alcohol-related accidents happen at night. He said he didn't see any need for the city to be contributing to drinkers on the road.

Layton City Manager Alex Jensen said because most other major cities in Utah don't sell beer at night, it was time for Layton to follow suit.

"I'm not surprised," said Brad Jones, a Smith's customer buying beer early Saturday morning. Jones, who wouldn't say where he was from, did say that he came to Layton late at night to buy beer because he could.

"I work late, and on weekends this is where I have to come to buy beer," he said.

Jones wasn't aware Kaysville sold beer 24 hours.

"I guess now I know where to go," he said.

Kaysville, however, has no plans to change its ordinance allowing beer to be sold all night.

"I don't think it's a problem," City Manager John Thacker said. "Our provisions have worked very well."

The Smith's and Albertson's stores in Layton aren't worried about loss of business because of the new ordinance.

Albertson's store director Brian Waddoups said the new ban would probably affect weekend business the most but that it won't be enough to hurt overall sales.

"Personally, I think it's good," he said. Waddoups said many of the people who come into his store to buy beer at that hour have already been drinking. "They probably don't need any more," he said.

A spokeswoman for Smith's Corp. said the stores in Layton and Syracuse didn't sell a lot of beer through the night. She also said it remained to be seen if sales at the Syracuse store will pick up once Layton stops selling beer.

Both Layton and Smith's have sent out and posted notices informing residents of the change. Both have said most people will probably plan around the hours and buy their beer during the day.

Keefe said the ban ends at 6 a.m. so people leaving early for fishing or camping trips can still buy beer on their way out of town.

"We've tried to be accommodating," he said.

E-MAIL: rrogers@desnews.com