CHANDLER — City officials propose to tighten state regulations on alcohol sales in the event a movement in Chandler for an election to allow sale of beer and wine succeeds at the polls in November.
The Chandler Planning and Zoning Commission scheduled a public hearing on a proposed local alcohol ordinance at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at city hall. If it passes the commission, the ordinance would move to the Chandler City Council at 6 p.m. June 12.
“This ordinance would help alleviate some of the concerns that have been expressed by some Chandler residents and would help safeguard the city’s small town, family atmosphere,” said John M. Taylor, assistant city administrator/planner.
The Buy Chandler First political action committee is collecting signatures on a petition for an election to legalize sale of beer and wine for off-premise consumption and another petition for a vote on legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants.
“We may not need it in the future depending on what happens, but at least it will be there,” he added, referring to the uncertainty at this point about the outcome of the drive to legalize alcohol sales.
One concern expressed by residents is that Chandler might have freestanding beer and wine stores but that is not part of the local option alcohol election proposition, Taylor said.
The sale of alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption would only be permitted by neighborhood convenience centers that derive 15 percent or more of their gross revenue from the sale of non-alcoholic products and products not subject to motor fuel tax, Taylor said.
Neighborhood convenience stores, he added, are defined as a retail establishment which carries convenience goods, such as groceries, drugs and some variety of items. They could be grocery stores, markets, supermarkets, convenience stores and variety stores and they would only be permitted in commercial zoned areas. Drive-thru alcohol sales would not be allowed, Taylor said.
“You couldn’t have a freestanding store that just sold beer or just sold wine because it wouldn’t be allowed by this ordinance,” Taylor said.
Another concern residents have voiced is that after a successful alcohol election, they would see signs advertising beer and wine sales. “This ordinance would not allow anyone to have a visible sign from the street advertising alcohol,” Taylor said.
Outdoor advertising for sale or consumption of an alcoholic beverage would not be allowed within the city limits.
The sale of alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption would only be permitted by restaurants/hotel/motels which hold a food and beverage certificate and if the restaurant or hotel/motel’s revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages is less than 50 percent of its gross revenue, Taylor said. “Such uses would only be permitted in commercial zoning districts,” he added.
The proposed ordinance would set a 300-foot separation requirement between off-premise alcohol sales and churches and schools although the city council could approve a variance to the distance requirements.
The ordinance would prohibit a person from possessing an open container or consuming an alcoholic beverage on a public street, public alley, public sidewalk or public park which is within 1,000 feet of the property line of a facility that is public or a private school.
An exception could be an event authorized by the city council and held in compliance with provisions of the ordinance.
The proposed ordinance would lessen any negatively perceived impacts on the city of alcohol sales, Taylor said.
City Administrator Jim Moffeit said he views the alcohol election proposal as an economic issue for the Chandler.
If Tyler and Smith County Precinct 2 pass an alcohol proposition, that could mean alcohol sales would be legalized on the other side of the Chandler city limits. People from Chandler who work in Tyler could stop at convenience stores that sell alcohol in Precinct 2 and buy not only alcohol but other items, Moffeit.
“It’s really not about how much sales tax (legalized sale of alcohol in Chandler) would bring to the city; it’s about how much sales tax it would keep from leaving the city that we already have,” Moffeit said.