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Alcohol Ordinance: Here is what you need to know

by David Specht

There have been a lot of workshops held by the Mayor & City Council pertaining to the alcohol ordinance. There were some proposals for changes introduced that went back and forth over the past few weeks, and with a Special Session being held today at 5:30 p.m., it may be helpful to provide some clarity regarding the most heavily discussed topics.

One of those topics that affect the most people, consumers and business owners alike, is the hours that alcohol can be bought and sold. The final chosen times for the hours during which alcohol cannot be sold are as follows. 

For convenience stores and gas/petrol stations, alcohol cannot be sold from the hours of 11:01 p.m. to 6:59 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 11:01 p.m. to 11:59 a.m. on Sunday. 

For restaurant establishments and bars, alcohol cannot be sold between the hours of 2:01 a.m. and 10:59 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10:01 p.m. to 11:59 a.m. on Sunday.

For package houses, alcohol cannot be sold between the hours of 12:01 a.m. to 6:59 a.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:01 p.m. to 11:59 a.m. on Sundays.

Another topic of scrutiny was that of how the distance between businesses selling alcohol and schools, churches, etc., would be measured. This was an important topic because it will determine whether or not certain locations will be able to sell. 

An abridged form of the ordinance reads, “When prohibited by a municipal ordinance, no permit shall be granted for any premises situated within 300 ft. or less of a public playground, building used for a church, library, etc. in municipalities which are divided into subdivisions with streets, blocks, sidewalks, etc., this distance shall be measured in a straight line from the nearest point of the property line of the church, etc., to the nearest point of the premises to be licensed.”

Premises in this instance refer to the building that is selling alcohol itself. To restate, the measurement is 300 feet or less from the property line of the church, etc., to the premises that are selling the alcohol. 

Brent Cooley, the Building Official for the City of Minden, otherwise known as the person who will be in charge of making all these measurements, further elaborated during the last workshop meeting that straight line measurement, or “as the crow flies,” is the simplest way to measure distances with the new technology. 

‘I think the old method is antiquated back before the GIS system and could accurately measure it. Could you imagine measuring as the crow flies through all the buildings and whatever else? It would be impossible on foot. Now that we have the technology, we can sit there, plug in two points, and it’ll say yes or no,” said Cooley.

The topic of a fine for the cost of $500 dollars was suggested as a consequence for businesses not posting “no loitering” signs. While this topic persisted for some weeks, it seems that the Council had decided to abandon the idea entirely, after a member of the public told the council that “by law, you cannot force a store to put up a sign.” 

Lastly, Based on a recommendation from Michael Fluhr, a piece of text in the ABO cards section was removed that would’ve made it so an ABO card holder would have to, according to the ordinance, “notify the police department of the name and address of the ABO employee cardholder,” every time they worked at a new place.

Seeing as how getting in contact with the police is already a part of getting the ABO card, Micahel Fluhr made the point that it would just make more work for the Police Station without any real benefits.

This change would make it so ABO card holders would only have to sign up once, and could work anywhere within the city limits for the life of the license, which is two years, and it saves the Minden Police Department and the cardholder some hassle. 

The special session to pass the alcohol ordinance will be held today, Feb. 11 starting at 5:30 p.m. in Minden City Hall. 

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