SUNDAY ALCOHOL SALES: First draft of ordinance would limit hours for bars, lounges

Published 3:30 am Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Troy City Council has written a first draft of the ordinance to permit Sunday alcohol sales and it includes language that would limit hours for lounge-type licensees.

The draft otherwise adheres directly to the language of the referendum that was voted on by the people of Troy back on October 10, a lopsided vote with 73 percent in favor of Sunday sales.

The language of that referendum asked residents whether they approved of permitting alcohol sales after noon on Sundays both on and off premises.

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With the referendum passed, it falls to the city council to set the ordinance, which can add further parameters to sales but cannot expand Sunday sales without going back to the State legislature for another local bill to authorize another referendum.

The ordinance sets the following exception for Lounge, Class I liquor licensees: “(a) The sale of alcoholic beverages on Sundays by Lounge, Class I Licensees, shall be and is limited to the hours beginning at 2:00 p.m. and ending at 10:00 p.m., inclusive, with the exception that if a Sunday falls on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day, or July 4th, such Licensees are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages after 12:00 p.m. on said Sundays in the same manner as permitted on other days of the week.”

Council president Marcus Paramore said the wording was based on the suggestions of council members at a previous executive committee meeting.

“We basically took some of the ideas batted around at the previous meeting and put them together into a draft so we could discuss it again,” Paramore said. “The way I look at it, I took the consensus of some of the issues brought forward.”

Councilman Greg Meeks, District 2, first suggested the possibility of keeping lounges from Sunday sales altogether.

Von Ewing, owner of Trojan Tavern, responded then that he didn’t mind being closed on Sundays, but wanted to have the same opportunities as restaurants and grocery stores.

“For me, it’s about fairness,” Ewing said a few days after the vote passed. “I think if you have a license to sell it, you should be able to sell it. Everybody with a liquor license should be able to sell it. Just let the license speak for itself.”

Ewing said he was happy to hear that the drafted ordinance only restricted the time of sales.

“I like it,” Ewing said. “I think it’s great; that’s about how it is in Tuscaloosa (where Ewing owns another bar)… I think they’re protecting the city. I love the fact that I can close early if I do decide to open.”

The council will hold their first reading of the ordinance Tuesday. Paramore said the council could all agree on the ordinance as written and move on with it or continue to table it for further discussion.

If the council is all in agreement, the ordinance could be passed with a unanimous vote Tuesday. Otherwise, the ordinance would be read a second time at the council’s November 28 meeting and could be passed by a majority vote at that time.

The council will meet upstairs at City Hall for an executive committee meeting at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday before meeting in the Council Chambers at 5 p.m. for the council meeting.