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Village Vision News

Trustees allow liquor sales at Village gas stations

Thursday, October 14, 2010

On Oct. 4, trustees voted unanimously to amend Class C of the Village's liquor ordinance to allow, with certain restrictions, the sale of beer and/or wine at businesses and gas stations. The restrictions include:

  • gross receipts of 75 percent must come from sales other than beer and wine at these establishments;
  • liquor advertisements must not be visible either on the exterior of the premises or on the interior to be viewed from the exterior of the premises; 
  • beer or wine may not be sold from a drive-up window.

In a separate motion, trustees amended the Class B category of its liquor license ordinance to include the same advertising restrictions as noted in Class A and Class C.

The amendment is the second one in the history of the Village's 17-year-old liquor ordinance.

The change came in response to a request from the Phillips 66 gas station at Rt. 51/Shafer Road, the first of two Village gas stations to request a license to sell alcohol. Board discussions on this issue began in mid-July when trustees asked Village Administrator Heather Kimmons to evaluate the existing ordinance and to present options for possible changes.

Kimmons recently presented trustees with a synopsis of the current code and outlined the three classes of liquor licenses with their respective restrictions. Eight of the 10 Class A licenses currently available are used by Village restaurants. Two of the existing three Class B licenses have been issued to establishments which are allowed to sell wine and beer only at sit-down meals. Class C has three available licenses, none of which are in current use. The cost of licenses in each class is $3,000 annually.

Over a series of recent meetings, trustees took a closer look at the liquor ordinance to determine if either eliminating the restrictive classes within the Class C license category or adding a fourth license class was the best means to allow for the sale of beer and wine at Village gas stations. Trustee Eric Morr said an informal survey he conducted earlier drew more responses than a survey on a proposed skate board park.

""It was 80 percent [in favor of beer and wine sales] against 20 percent ... people are tired of going to other area towns to purchase beer and go home,"" he told trustees during a Sept. 20 Board discussion. Allowing the sale of beer and wine at gas stations is a compromise when compared to allowing hard liquor sales on a take-out basis, he said.

In the end, trustees decided to move toward modification of Class C for liquor licenses pending formal approval. Mayor Hap Gilbert said he wanted to go on record with his opposition to an ordinance change.

""I am still against selling alcohol at gas stations, "" he said. ""...I know that's a minority opinion.""

In 2008, the mayor opposed a unanimous vote among trustees who endorsed an ordinance change which allowed restaurants with Class A and Class B licenses to remain open seven days a week until 1 a.m.

The Board discussion made it clear that trustees are not ready at this time to consider the concept of bringing a free-standing upscale, regulated liquor store to the Village. Kimmons said one such retailer would like to expand to Forsyth and has made several requests in recent years. A new class of license would have to be created for this purpose, Kimmons said. The Village ""...is taking baby steps,"" but ""...is still a fairly long way from getting to that point,"" she said.

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