Vote would allow beer with meal

Friday, April 18, 2008
The Chapel Hill Board of Mayor and Aldermen voted Monday to allow beer to be served with meals in restaurants. The measure requires another vote before becoming law. Pictured here are Alderwomen Pam Elliott and Kim Holton, Mayor Carl Cooper, and Alderman Horace Hill.

CHAPEL HILL -- With a tie vote broken by the mayor, the town board has decided beer ought to be available for sale with restaurant meals.

Another vote is required for the measure to become final and town officials left open the possibility that a workshop might be called for more discussion.

"We have been on this before and we took no action," Mayor Carl Cooper said during the town board's regular monthly meeting this week. He was referring to a motion in January that failed to get a second, so the town board made no decision.

Alderman Horace Hill made the motion Monday to permit beer service.

"It's going to happen one of these days anyway," Hill said as Alderwoman Kim Holton started asking questions.

"If this passes, am I right that it would have to come up on their own?" Holton asked about how businesses would have to apply for a permit and that the town board's vote wouldn't automatically grant permits to all restaurants in town.

City Attorney Todd Moore of Franklin confirmed the alderwoman's understanding. Restaurant owners would "have to request an on-premises permit" to sell beer to customers, but if an applicant meets the standards to have a permit, the town's beer board would be obliged to issue a permit.

"This is vague," Alderwoman Pam Elliott said, noting there's no required distance between beer drinking and schools, churches or other such institutions that are, in other jurisdictions, separated from the sale of alcoholic beverages.

Moore pointed out that the state does not require such separation.

Voting for the motion were Hill, Holton and Aldermen Billy Batte, who made the motion for approval in January. Voting no were Elliott and Alderman Bucko Bryant and Henry Frame.

"This is the first time I've seen a tie vote," Town Administrator Mike Hatten said after the mayor broke the tie vote that could become final when the issue is reconsidered for its required second vote. That's anticipated during the board meeting on the second Monday of May.

Between now and then, Hatten suggested, the board might wa . . . .Pick up a copy of today's edition of the Marshall County Tribune for entire coverage of this event and other exciting topics of interest in town!!