Reno says biz must close by 11PM without special-use permit

RENO, Nev (KOLO) -- A local business that has been a staple for many who attend Hot August Nights has been told by the city it can't stay open past 11 o'clock.

For many it's a tradition year in and year out that likely won't continue for the time being.

"I'm a little upset," said Johnny Starr, A&W customer.

"Closing it at 11 is a no-go for me," said Barbara Melco, A&W customer.

"I'm mad," said Hairy Pearce, A&W customer.

Many people say for years, they were accustomed to seeing A&W on Kietzke Lane and Plumb Lane stay open past 11 pm for Hot August Nights.

"The reason I was upset because the old A&W, the drive-in; we used to keep it open until three or four o'clock in the morning until all of the cars petered out,” said Starr.

But the City of Reno says that will not be the case because the land-use zoning for the area allows businesses to open from 6 am to 11 pm.

"I knew the owner before they took ownership, It is better now than it was when the first owner had it," said Pearce.

The strict close time for customers came out of nowhere, but Reno compliance officials say A&W received two notices, one on August 10, 2016 and another one on August 9, 2017 regarding the zoned hours of operation.

A&W owner Mike Baker didn't want to talk on camera, but he says he lost track of the letter sent last year. But the day before the letter that was sent August 9, 2017, a city official and police officers showed up and Baker thought they had an agreement to stay open until midnight and police would clear the area. The next day he received the letter.

One customer doesn't understand why the city decided to enforce the policy now.

"We have all been here for years. For my husband and I, this is our base station here. We don't go to the other casinos, we did when we were younger, but not any more. Now that we are older, we just like to stay here," said Melco.

Baker says many people who attend Hot August Nights regularly visit A&W, after all the events are finished. The fast food chain also hosts an unofficial Hot August Nights event that showcases Mopar cars.

"During an event like this that is a citywide event, I think they should make an exception," said Wynn Allred, A&W customer.

City of Reno officials say A&W could stay open past 11 pm, but they would need to file for a Special-Use Permit. The process is usually six weeks long and the city of Reno charges a base fee of $2,500.

Baker says he did apply for a permit for Hot August Nights for amplified sound, but the city says that doesn't allow businesses to stay open past 11 pm.