3Topia owner discusses LC city council's alcohol permit decision

3Topia owner discusses LC city council's alcohol permit decision
(Source: Maranda Whittington/KPLC)

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - A Lake Charles restaurant almost lost its alcohol permit this week, something the owner believes would have killed his business.

After a long discussion, the city council decided to allow 3Topia to keep their permit.

Wednesday night Lake Charles restaurant 3Topia's future was in the hands of city council.

"I'm going to support the residents of the area, and support the decision of the alcohol review board to recommend the revocation of the license," said Councilman Stuart Weatherford.

Back in April the alcohol review board unanimously voted to revoke 3Topia's alcohol license.Then it was the city council's time to decide.

After much debate, all but one council member voted for the restaurant to keep its alcohol permit but with stipulations.

"I feel relieved," said the owner, Darrell Bennett. "I feel like the weight of the world is not on my shoulders anymore."

Bennett was worried how things would go at the meeting.

"I put my life savings in it, and I really wanted to succeed, and I felt like in some type of way they were just trying to take it away from me," he said.

One of the biggest complaints about the restaurant was noise.

But Attorney Todd Clemons believes many fail to realize, 3Topia is zoned business, not residential.

"If you buy a property that's 200, 300 feet from Ryan Street which is the busiest thoroughfare in Lake Charles, you got to expect some traffic," said Clemons. "You got to expect some noise."

Clemons feels his client isn't being held to the same standards as other restaurants and bars nearby.

"We don't think that business is any louder, and I think it's even quieter than other businesses of the same type on Ryan Street, but as I pointed out to the council he's the only one that looks like me that has a business on Ryan Street, and I don't think that was a coincidence," he said.

While Bennett is glad he didn't lose a key part of his business, he hopes to be treated just like everyone else.

"When I played football the only thing we needed was referees to be fair," he said. "It's just like this in life, let's be fair to me. My fellow business owners if they can operate their business a certain way allow me to do the same.

The stipulations 3Topia has to abide by are people can't loiter outside, noise control, more security outside the restaurant, and they'll begin closing down on weekends at 1:30 a.m.

Bennett will meet with the council for an update in six months.

Copyright 2018 KPLC All rights reserved