At a workshop Monday night, City Council was presented with several ways the city can change its alcoholic beverage ordinance to, according to city attorney Sam Thomas, “fit a more modern business model” and “eliminate ambiguity.”
Assistant City Administrator James Drinkard, who made the presentation along with Thomas, pointed out instances where the ordinance may be antiquated, such as when companies hold networking or social events and serve alcoholic beverages.
With the current rules, a corporation located in the city could not serve beer and wine at a company party without a license.
“It’s not our intent to regulate that,” Thomas said.
However, when the city does need to regulate, Thomas said rules should be easily enforceable and not as “ambiguous” as they currently are.
Another item of concern mentioned is the city’s stance on mentioning alcohol in signage.
Thomas said because the city regulates the inclusion of words like “beer” and “wine” in signs and banners, problems could arise for businesses wishing to include those or similar words in their name.
“When a future tenant sees an ordinance that may potentially limit the use of their name, they become hesitant,” he said.
Staff members also identified an enforcement challenge brought on by growler stores, which are allowed to serve one-ounce samples of beer. But the ordinance does not stipulate the size of approved sample containers.
Special events held downtown could also cause problems, because under the current ordinance, vendors would need licenses and would not be allowed to serve samples.
City Council members indicated that they would like to move forward with making changes to the ordinance, with Mayor David Belle Isle saying he is glad the city is “looking at [the ordinance] as a whole and not just continuing to pick away at it.”