Aldermen set limits for sales of alcohol

Published 7:00pm Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Brookhaven aldermen voted Tuesday night to petition Mississippi Alcoholic Beverage Control to allow exceptions to Mississippi state law regarding the hours restaurants and package stores in Brookhaven will be allowed to sell alcohol.

ABC is in charge of regulating the legal sale of alcoholic beverages within Mississippi based on state laws. The aldermen are requesting two exceptions to state law, both of which would decrease the hours of sales from those allowed by ABC.

Current state law allows restaurants to sell alcohol from 10 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Saturday. The board is asking that those hours be reduced to 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The board also is requesting a restriction on package stores sales hours from the state’s hour allowance of 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Under the board’s request, package stores would be restricted to selling alcohol only from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in Brookhaven

Ward Six Alderman David Phillips made the motion regarding the hours of alcohol sales, which the alderman approved with six board members voting in favor. Ward Three Alderman Mary Wilson abstained from voting on the matter.

“This is a little more restrictive, and I think it will allow us to better control alcohol sales in the city,” Phillips told the board.

Immediately after the board carried Phillips’ motion, Ward Two Alderman Terry Bates moved that restaurants be allowed to sell liquor on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. The board struck down Bates’ motion in a five-to-two vote, leaving Brookhaven completely dry on Sundays.

“It seems unfair from an economic perspective that other restaurants in other counties be allowed to generate income from alcohol sales on Sunday, but not here,” Bates said.

“We are in competition with brother cities, sister cities. If the city of Brookhaven wants an Applebee’s to come here, we must provide the economic incentive that other cities, such as McComb, provide them,” said Bates.

Alderman Phillips suggested that the general consensus in the community is that Sundays remain dry. This corresponds to state law.

Phillips noted that liquor sales will occur only in commercial districts. Brookhaven’s commercial district is determined by zoning regulations that involve a number of factors.

City Attorney Joe Fernald said he would have a comprehensive liquor ordinance by the Sept. 3 aldermen’s board meeting. Fernald is currently examining other city’s ordinances, and working with city aldermen to determine what exceptions and restrictions to incorporate into the paperwork.