By Joe Lewis - Staff Writer
July 3, 2013 — Grayson City Council held a special working session Thursday night to continue dialogue on how to implement alcohol sales within the city.
Shelly Steiner of the Carter County Drug Free Coalition (CCDFC) made a brief presentation outlining the organization’s objectives.
“Our two main goals are to stop youth from obtaining alcohol illegally and to prevent restaurants from overserving customers through responsible serving practices,” Steiner said.
Steiner also suggested that a portion of tax revenues generated from alcohol sales could be earmarked by the Council for youth education programs.
Also, CCDFC will provide $2,000 in scholarships for servers at established restaurants to undergo responsible serving training.
Questions concerning proximity of alcohol establishments to schools and churches also were at the forefront of the discussion.
According to City Attorney Reid Glass, the Council likely does not have statutory or regulatory authority to limit where liquor stores or other alcohol sales establishments can be located.
The city can, however, limit the sale of alcohol in line with its established planning and zoning practices.
Several members of the community suggested that alcohol sales only be conducted in commercial zones and prohibited in residential zones.
Some businesses are located within residential zones and were grandfathered into the zoning plan when the city initially established its guidelines.
Glass indicated that those businesses would not be able to sell alcohol if sales are limited to commercial zones, however, as their grandfathered status would be nullified by any significant alteration to their established business purpose.
Even though the city government has less than 60 days left to enact an alcohol sales ordinance, Grayson officials were adamant that they wouldn't rush the process.
They said they would take enough time to draft an ordinance that both complies with state law and serves the best interests of the community.
“This ordinance needs to be done right. We're not going to jump ahead of ourselves and everyone in the community will have input,” said Mayor George Steele. “We need an ordinance that's fair, reasonable and enforceable.”
City Council could potentially have a first draft of the alcohol sales ordinance at its regular monthly meeting at 5 p.m. next Tuesday at City Hall.
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.