As a new alcohol ordinance nears approval in Lula, a few loose ends remain, particularly as they apply to establishments serving liquor by the drink.
“The council still has the opportunity to identify fees, hours of operation and percentage of food sales,” City Manager Dennis Bergin said during a council work session Monday night.
Council members decided to hash out those final issues at a special called meeting set for 6:30 p.m. this coming Monday at City Hall, 6055 Main St., or 30 minutes before the council’s regular monthly meeting.
The final vote is set to take place during the monthly meeting.
The council held a public hearing before Monday’s work session to get input on the new ordinance, which was prompted by city residents approving a Nov. 8 referendum to allow liquor drinks to be served.
Only two area residents showed, and they said they came mainly to listen — that they didn’t have particular opinions for or against the ordinance.
The residents, Mark Gilder and his son, Mike, did have a few questions, such as whether Sunday alcohol sales would be allowed.
Sunday sales of any type aren’t permitted under the new law. The only way to allow them would be through another referendum.
Currently, only beer and wine package sales at local stores are allowed in Lula, and they can only be sold Monday through Saturday.
The new ordinance would make serving beer and wine legal, too.
“Our (ordinance) may be a conservative approach, initially,” Bergin said during the public hearing. “... We’ll have to see what works and what doesn’t work.”
Mike Gilder said he and his father had considered the idea of maybe opening a sports bar.
When a local eatery had closed a while back, “we were talking about opening that up,” he said.
That didn’t happen, as the restaurant changed hands to a different owner, “but there’s still some interest on my part later on doing something,” Gilder said.
Although some particulars aren’t set in stone, the ordinance does lay out some tentative requirements, including that liquor drinks can be served 10 a.m.-midnight Monday through Saturday.
Also, establishments must derive at least 50 percent of annual gross sales from food.
Bergin said at an earlier meeting that through the food requirement, “we’re already establishing a precedent that we’re not going to allow bars.”
If someone came into City Hall asking for a liquor license, he said, “the first thing I would do based on the way this ordinance is written is I’d validate they have a business license as a restaurant. If they don’t do that, they’re not going to qualify here.”