Brantley may ban restaurant liquor sale

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 20, 2005

The Brantley Town Council is considering the removal of an ordinance that allows the on-premise sale of alcoholic beverages in restaurant-type establishments.

During Monday night's meeting Councilman Darryl Elliot said it was his opinion that stipulations in the ordinance were not strict enough. Currently, the town ordinance allows for the sale of alcohol with meals as long as profits from alcoholic beverages do not exceed a certain percentage of the restaurant's gross. Alcohol cannot be served before noon or after midnight during the week and not at all on Sundays.

Elliot believes restaurant owners would be able to manipulate the ordinance with its current terminology.

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"I think we either need to clean it up or get rid of it entirely," said Elliot.

Off-premise sales, such as those made in convenience and grocery stores, would be unaffected by the removal of the ordinance.

The council voted to re-consider the ordinance and may vote on its removal at the next council meeting on Aug. 1.

The council is also weighing the re-establishment of a nuisance abatement board. Brantley citizens with concerns about property neglect - overgrown yards, junk, etc. - could sign a complaint. The board would allow 60 days for the owner to clean up the property before the town takes action. The town could re-coup any losses for clean up and material removal from the owner, either directly or by placing a lien on the property.

In May, councilman Lorey Bogen brought to light the handling of the town's court proceedings when a Brantley court case was moved to Luverne without authorization of the council. On Monday, Mayor Bernie Sullivan suggested the council authorize town judge Mark Smyth to move the court's location at his discretion.

"He's our appointed judge," said Sullivan. "This is what we pay him for - to make these decisions."

Bogen and Elliot disagreed.

"I don't see us moving it. We should govern that," said Elliot.

Councilman Steve Walker said he had no preference where the court was held.

"I think the times he's (Smyth) done it has been just a matter of convenience," said Walker. Smyth's office is located in Luverne.

It was decided that all future court cases would be tried in Brantley unless the council allowed proceedings to be moved.

Additionally, the council agreed to purchase 7.65 acres of land, of which 1.17 acres will be leased to Helispec, LLC to build a new helicopter paint facility. The total cost was $22,865.

"If business goes like we think it will," said Walker. "Helispec may eventually purchase the rest of the land for future expansion."