Archived Story

Priceville one step closer to alcohol sales

Published 10:08am Thursday, January 24, 2013

Priceville’s mayor and town council moved a step closer to having an ordinance to regulate the sale and distribution of alcoholic beverages after discussing the issue for two hours in a work session and conducting a public hearing afterward on Tuesday night.

Town Attorney William S. (Woody) Sanderson presented council members with a second draft of the proposed 54-page ordinance and led a discussion on its various parts in the work session.

Topics receiving the most attention were distances between businesses selling alcoholic beverages and churches, schools and day care centers, the license application process and the formation of an Alcohol Review Committee.

After reviewing a map showing the location of businesses and vacant commercial property along Highway 67, the council agreed that there are only three or four possibilities for the licensing of a package liquor store or lounge in a C-2 or C-3 zone. The minimum distance between them and a church, school or day care would be 1,000 feet. More possibilities exist for the licensing of a business to sell beer and wine where a minimum distance of 250 or 300 feet was discussed.

A 300-foot minimum entered the discussion after Mayor Melvin Duran reported that’s the number he had recommended to him by a local church pastor recently.

Council members indicated they had no problem with that distance.

Town Clerk Kelly Dean reported that the alcohol ordinance would become effective five days after it is approved and posted at town hall. She said license applications would be accepted on a first come, first served basis.

In order to be licensed to sell liquor, a business must be located at least 1,000 feet from another business selling alcohol or 250 or 300 feet from another business selling beer and wine.

The selection of a five-member Alcohol Review committee was also discussed. It would consist of the mayor or his designated representatives and two members appointed by the council.

Duran said his preference was to have the assistant police chief and town clerk serve on the committee and either himself or another town employee as the third member. Council members agreed that the other two slots should be filled with citizens of good character who will be able to exercise objectivity in their findings and recommendations.

The committee will have responsibility to review all liquor license applications and bring recommendations to the council for or against the issuance of a license. A background check of the business owner or owners seeking a license will be part of the review process.

A local business interested in selling beer and wine on its premises filed a written complaint about three provisions in the proposed ordinance: the prohibition of product advertising visible from outside, a $10,000 surety bond requirement and prohibited single can sales.

Duran and council members indicated they stand firm against alcohol beverage advertising that is visible from the outside and single can sales.

Later, during a 35-minute pubic hearing, only two of the 15 residents present asked questions or made comments.

Charlie Hopkins, who identified himself as a retiree of an alcohol beverage brewery, questioned why the ordinance eliminated the sale of draft beer. He said liquor stores should be able to stay open longer than 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and indoor and outdoor advertising should be allowed. He also objected to the 1,000-foot distance between liquor stores and churches, schools and daycares.

Sanderson responded by saying a local amendment approved by Priceville voters would be necessary before draft beer sales would be permitted.

Steve Jeffries questioned if a $300,000 liquor liability insurance was adequate for alcohol; license holders.

Sanderson pointed out that the range is $100,000 to $300,000 in other alcohol ordinances he has reviewed.

Duran announced that public input would be taken into consideration in the production of a third ordinance draft. It will also be the subject of discussion at another council work session on Mon., Feb. 11, at 6 p.m., after which another public hearing will be conducted at 7 p.m.

 

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