Chapel Hill OKs beer service

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

searching, the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in this town has voted to allow beer service with restaurant meals.

Mayor Carl Cooper on broke a tie vote Monday and so requests for such beer sale permits may be filed starting May 27.

"I don't think it's any different from going to O'Charlie's and having a drink," said Alderman Horace Hill, who voted with Aldermen Billy Batte and Kris Holton.

Aldermen Bucko Bryant, Henry Frame and Pam Elliott voted no. That vote line-up matched the board's April 14 vote.

Town leaders have been considering beer service since late last summer when Sambo's Barbecue proprietor Tina Wesson said golfers were asking if they could drink a beer with their sandwich. Henry Horton State Park's golf course is just south of town and state law prohibits beer at the park's restaurant.

In December and January, aldermen stalled on a motion to permit beer sales by the glass. There was no second to the motion, but they voted to outlaw brown-bagging. Last month, Cooper broke a tie on beer at restaurants.

Approval on the second and final vote came with an added requirement for restaurants, as suggested by Hill. At least 51 percent of their revenue must be from food and the meals must be prepared at the restaurant.

Chapel Hill has permitted carry-out beer sales for several years. A number of country markets in town sell meals and have permits to sell packaged beer. Hill's suggestion for a way to limit beer service to businesses that are primarily restaurants emerged from discussion including groceries.

Opposition to beer sales by the glass focused on schools, inebriation and potential problems.

"It's just opening a can of nails," Bryant said.

Elliott said she doesn't want beer . . . .Pick up a copy of today's edition for full coverage.