May 12, 2005

City Set To Repeal Liquor License Ban on Square

The Memphis City Council cleared the way for restaurants on the city square to once again serve alcohol. On May 5th, the council directed city attorney David Peppard to draft an amendment to the 1991 ordinance that had banned the sale of alcoholic beverages anywhere within 500-feet of the court house. The new law will allow the city to approve liquor licenses to any business that maintains a ratio of at least 80 percent food sales and no more than 20 percent of sales represented by alcohol.

The law change had been requested by Memphis Realty after the company informed the council that a couple of prospective restaurants had considered purchasing property on the square but had passed after learning about the alcohol ban.

Peppard indicated the state offers a restaurant liquor license that requires alcohol sales to be no greater than 50 percent of the license holderís revenue. He pointed out that the city could set the restriction higher than 50 percent.

Aldermen Ron Gardner and Lucas Remley voted to set the limit on sales at 20-percent. Alderman Theresa Skinner voted against the motion.

Hay Bid

In other business, the council received one bid for the 2005 hay services at Lake ShowMe. Jackson Farms submitted a bid of $6.50 per bale. David Jackson told the council that the price had been reduced from the previous quote of $7.50 per bale due to higher gas costs as well as the uncertainty of working with a one-year contract.

The council voted 3-0 to accept the bid and awarded the contract to Jackson farms.

Building Permits

Jim Nishida-Adams was present at the May meeting to question the cityís decision to refuse his building permit request to build a garage on his property. The permit had been refused because the proposed building did not allow for the 25-foot setback from the rear property line of the residence.

Nishida-Adams questioned the ordinance, asking what the difference was between the side of property, which only requires a 10-foot setback as compared to the 25-feet mandated for the front and back of the property.

Peppard told Nishida-Adams that he could apply for a variance, as the ordinance was not absolute. The aldermen recommended he contact his neighbors to seek their approval of a variance and return to seek council approval.

New Signs

Dave Shoush from NEMO Regional Planning met with the council regarding a proposed application for MoDOT grant funding for new Welcome to Memphis signs. Shoush told the council he had not been able to meet with representatives from the local rotary and chamber groups and was waiting on cost estimates.

The council set a May 16th meeting to try to finalize the process. The deadline for the grant application is May 27th.

Pool Opening

Mayor Mike Stone invited the public to a special open house at the new Memphis Pool. The new facility will be open for tours from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 29th. The swimming pool will open for business on Monday, May 30th.

New Location

With packed houses at the last two city council meetings, the board of aldermen instructed City Clerk Angela Newman to seek a larger meeting place for future council gatherings. The meeting room at the rear of City Hall has proven too small to hold all the interested parties in attendance for the April and May meetings.

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