Joshua Niles with Game Day Sports Grill came before the council to request a variance on the distance requirements set forth in alcohol ordinance that the council passed in February. Councilman Tim Terry made the motion to approve request, however it died for a lack of a second
According to the ordinance, no permit will be issued for an establishment that is less than 1,000 feet to be measured from the nearest property line point to the nearest property line of any school, church, youth activity organization, day care or assisted living center within the city limits of Greenwood without prior approval from the council.
City Attorney, Mike Hamby, stated that there is no formal process to request a variance on the ordinance. “My suggestion was, since we really don’t have any guidelines, was to have him to put something into writing so that we have some idea what he is talking about,” said Hamby.
Alderman Daniel McDaniel replied, “We spent five months getting through that ordinance and if we are going to grant a variance right off the bat then we wasted five months writing it. I would not be in favour of it at all.”
Niles stated that he has lost $372,000 in the last five months and that he has had to lay of six employees.
“Don’t blame the failure of your restaurant on this board,” said McDaniel. “I am not going to buy that.”
In February the council voted 4-2 to pass an ordinance that establishes a permitting process and a privilege permit for selling or dispensing any controlled beverages within a private club in the city. However this does not mean that private clubs can sell alcohol in Greenwood, but If a business were to obtain a license from the Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control Division this ordinance would set permit fees, tax rates and distance requirements.
The ordinance was brought to the council by Alderman Rod Powell in December in response to two businesses in Greenwood seeking private club licenses
The council voted at the Nov. 2017 meeting to reject measures that would allow private clubs to approach the AABC to request a license to sell alcohol at their businesses. According to Powell, his reason for voting the clubs down was due to the fact that there was not an permitting process in place.
According to state law applications to sell alcohol in a private club must first be approved by the local council by ordinance. The ordinance then allows an individual to file their application with the AABC. Once the individual has permission from the council to file the application the Director will make a decision whether or not to approve the application.
The new ordinance includes the state maximum for taxation, with a 10% tax on beer and wine and a 14% tax on mixed drinks. Fees include a $1,500 annual permit for private clubs. The business will be required to provide the fee along with their initial application, however the fee will be refunded if the application is denied.
In other news:
The council declined to make a motion on providing notice of intent to proceed with a meeting without a quorum. A quorum is the minimum number of members of a meeting that must be present at a meeting to make the proceedings of that meeting valid.
A request from Bobby Altes with Altes Sanitation for a rate increase was tabled for 30 days due to the mayor not being present at the meeting. Altes stated that the landfill in Fort Smith has passed at 15 percent increase across the board and the request for more money would help to offset the expense to his business. The current contract with Altes Sanitation was passed at the first of the year for the next three years.
“It would be really reckless for for us to go in and change the rate on a three year term,” said McDaniel. “You are setting a president that contracts don’t count,” said McDaniel. “That is really a dangerous thing for us to get into.”
According to Hamby the city of Hackett declined to increase their rate in March for similar reasons.