New Albany adjusts beer law

By Lynn West/New Albany News-Exchange

NEW ALBANY – Aldermen have made two changes that make the city’s new beer ordinance slightly more restrictive.
During their meeting Tuesday, aldermen removed the section that would allow beer to be sold at city-sponsored events, on a specially permitted case-by-case basis.
They also removed the section that would have allowed single sales of beer or light wine. The change referred to packaged alcohol, and apparently would not affect restaurant or similar on-premises sale and consumption.
A couple of other efforts to make the ordinance more restrictive failed but comments by some in the audience indicated aldermen might be urged to amend the ordinance later.
Most of the ordinance already had been approved after city voters opted to allow beer and light wine sales, and will become law after the mandatory 30-day period and approval by the state, possibly by April 1.
Three parts of the ordinance involved zoning-related restrictions, however, and as a result required a separate public hearing and vote.
City attorney Roger McMillin explained the sections in question.

Churches and schools
The first was the section that prohibits beer or light wine being sold closer than 250 feet, by direct line from building to building, to a church or school.
Second was the requirement that beer or light wine can be sold only in parts of the city zoned C-1, which is downtown, or C-2, which is general commercial.
Third was allowing consumption on public property for city-sponsored events.
Several residents spoke against alcohol generally and the first and third issues specifically.
The 250-foot restriction passed on a 3-2 vote with Aldermen Johnny Anderson and Bill Tucker opposing it. Anderson said he would prefer a distance of at least 500 feet.
The restriction placing sales in commercial zoning passed unanimously, but the section allowing beer at public events again drew opposition from Anderson and Tucker and the measure failed after Alderman Tommie Beasley joined the two in voting it down.
Audience members raised more questions about possible changes to the ordinance, prompting Anderson to move that Sunday sales of beer and light wine be prohibited. His motion failed on a 3-2 vote, again with Anderson and Tucker voting for the prohibition.
Anderson and Tucker had more success in preventing the sale of single containers of packaged beer or light wine after getting the support of Alderman Jeff Olson, but a final effort to change the minimum distance from 250 to 500 feet failed with the same 3-2 vote against Anderson and Tucker.