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Tuesday's first city board meeting of 2018 will feature the first reading of a hot-button topic that came up late last year.

Ordinance 18-01 amending Municipal Code Section 74-205 would allow for alcohol to be dispensed and consumed on city-owned property during special events. The ordinance reads "non-commercial, community events sponsored by non-profits or civic organizations" would be permitted to serve alcohol during events at community parks, specifically Twin Springs, Bob Henry and City parks.

During a December board meeting, city staff was asked to research what the other larger cities on the Interstate 49 corridor allowed in regards to alcohol being served and consumed on city property.

While alcohol is not permitted on city property in Bentonville and Springdale, both Rogers and Fayetteville allow alcohol on "closed city-owned parking lots or streets" during special events.

However, none of the four cities reviewed by staff allowed alcohol in city parks.

Based on the research and prior board discussion, city staff believes that if the board chooses to approve the ordinance, it should be "on a case-by-case basis as determined by the board." Staff redrafted potential code amendments that special events wanting to serve alcohol would require the board's approval and also require a special event alcohol permit.

The third reading of another ordinance also deals with alcohol. It would allow grocery stores to sell wine with five percent or higher alcohol by weight. It is in line with Act 508, which the Arkansas Legislature passed last year. City code currently only permits the sale of "light wine," which is less than five percent alcohol by weight.

The proposed ordinance includes new definitions to clarify various types of wine and to define a grocery store. The ordinance also proposes a $200 license fee for each grocery store wine permit.

In addition, board members at Tuesday's meeting also will vote on a revised contract with CARBO Landscape Architects on the design of a proposed park around the library, a taxi lane extension that could handle future growth at the airport and a budget amendment to spend $50,000 to hire a financial planner.

General News on 12/31/2017

Print Headline: Board to consider alcohol in city parks

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