Woodbury Board Approves Square Beer Sales

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

Two ordinances which have an impact on where, and when, beer is sold in Woodbury were approved Tuesday night by the town's Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

By a 3-2 vote, the board passed Ordinance No. 436, an amendment to Ordinance No. 421 (regulating the sale, distribution for sale, and manufacturing of beer within the Town of Woodbury), by amending section 8-210 to allow restaurants located on the public square to sell beer.

Although beer sales have been permitted in Woodbury for the last few years, restaurants on the square were prohibited from doing so because they are located within 300 feet of a place of public gathering, the Cannon County Courthouse.

With the passage of Ordinance No. 436, restaurants on the square with a seating capacity of at least 50 can now sell beer.

Alderpersons Joann Davis, Lois Larimer and Faye Knox voted in favor of passing the ordinance, while Dottie Duggin and Charlie Harrell voted in opposition. Alderman Clayton Cason was unable to attend the meeting due a family illness.

At a public hearing prior to the vote, one citizen spoke out against allowing restaurants on the square to sell beer.

"I'm in opposition to beer period and I just want my feelings to be known," James McDonald said. "This (passing the ordinance) will be detrimental to the city over a long period of time.

McDonald said the far-reaching effects of allowing beer sales is more than a business deal and added that "the world is getting more wicked every day."

Alderwoman Duggin said she was uncomfortable with changing the existing ordinance because the 300-foot rule was included for a reason. She expressed concern about possible violent incidents occurring in the area.

Speaking in favor of passage, Alderwoman Knox said, "I don't think there has been any instances of drunkenness or violence on the square since The Scoreboard (a restaurant adjacent to the square) got their license. What this is about is providing merchants on the square an opportunity to increase revenue."

Following passage of Ordinance No. 436, the board also passed Ordinance No. 437, which amends Ordinance No. 421 to allow businesses who have a beer permit to sell the beverage on days elections are held. All members present voted in favor of passage with the exception of Harrell.

In other business Tuesday, Mayor Harold Patrick told the board that Christine Dillon has offered to sell the town approximately five acres of land west of town for the purpose of building a new fire hall. She is asking $125,000 for the land.

"I have one problem with that," Fire Chief Bill Johnston said. "We need it (a new fire hall) as close to the center of town as we can get it."

Mayor Patrick said there is no hurry in making a decision on where a new fire hall should be located. He said the city, which has been turned down on requests for full grants for a fire hall, will be applying for a 50 percent matching grant in the near future, and that he hoped a decision would be known by late summer. A new hall would cost approximately $800,000.

Also Tuesday, Public Works Director Alan Paschal told the board that the town has been experiencing serious sewer problems because its wastewater treatment plant has been down the last few days. "We are going to face some serious violations from the state and we are fixing to have to spend some money (for repairs)," Paschal said.