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Council to consider extension of alcohol sales on Common


By Seth Thomas Gulledge
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Extending an ordinance that permits limited alcohol sales at the Town Common is among items up for discussion during tonight’s scheduled meeting of the Greenville City Council.

Mayor P.J. Connelly requested a discussion on the ordinance because it is set to expire on Dec. 31, Connelly said. The council also is set to discuss a provision that bars new nightclubs from opening within 500 feet of an existing club in the downtown area.

Connelly said he asked to add the Town Common discussion so the council could consider extending the ordinance beyond the expiration date. He said he also wanted to discuss possible modifications to the ordinance so that it could be “utilized more in the coming years.”  

The council approved the ordinance after a committee formed to evaluate the idea recommended the following provisions:

• Only the city and a registered nonprofit organization may be permitted to serve or sell beer and wine.

• The event sponsor will cover the expense of establishing a designated area, as well as the cost of supporting amenities such as toilets, hand-washing stations and trash containers.

• Sales are limited to hours between noon and 10 p.m.

• Special duty security officers will be at designated areas during the sale/service/consumption of alcohol. The number of required officers will be determined by the city during the application process.

• The officers must be members of the Greenville Police Department or employees of an agency approved by the police department.

• Expenses for officers will be paid by the event sponsor.

• The event sponsor must obtain all alcoholic beverage permits required by law.

• Event sponsor must provide proof of insurance no later than 14 days prior to the event; insurance policy must specifically acknowledge that event includes alcohol; and coverage must include public liability, property damage and liquor liability insurance.

The ordinance was specifically drafted to expire at the end of the year so the city could evaluate its feasibility and how the ordinance effected events like Pirate Fest. 

The springtime PirateFest was the first even to sell beer at the Town Common under the ordinance. 

Thursday night is the last meeting before the ordinance expires, which is what prompted Connelly to suggest the discussion.  

Additionally, District 1 Councilwoman Kandie Smith asked for the agenda to include a discussion of the 500-foot rule for nightclubs in downtown. The rule was established after a spike in crime downtown, including a drive-by shooting that killed two people.

The agenda included no details about what, if any, changes may be in store for the rule.

Also on the agenda is the approval of several items related to the Town Creek Culvert project, a $26 million upgrade to the stormwater drainage system in the downtown area.

The council approved in October approved a contract with Trader Construction of New Bern to make the upgrades. Items on Thursday’s agenda including consideration of revenue bonds to fund the project, geotechnical engineering and environmental services.

Contact Seth Gulledge at Sgulledge@reflector.com and 329-9579. Follow him on Twitter @GulledgeSeth