An ordinance to allow businesses to serve alcohol in outdoor trade areas and for non-profits to file for a temporary permit for the sale and consumption of alcohol on public property for special events was tabled on its third reading during the Galion City Council meeting Tuesday evening.
Many residents opposed to the ordinance came to the meeting to voice their concerns and seem to only take issue with part of it. Most opponents have stated the fact that they support the portion of the ordinance that will allow the sale and consumption of alcohol in outdoor trade areas but vehemently oppose the sales and consumption of alcohol on public property, mainly the city’s parks.
Rev. Rick Maddox said that 13 or 14 members of the Galion Ministerial Association voted unanimously at their meeting last week to oppose the ordinance with its current wording.
“We are against alcohol in the parks. Wouldn’t it be feasible to put the issue on the ballot and let your constituents decide,” Maddox said.
Council president Carl Watt said that if the ordinance is passed by council, it can be repealed easier than if it would pass on a ballot by the voters.
“If there are problems, council can repeal it quicker and easier,” Watt said.
Former city law director and Galion resident Roberta Wade said the two goals of the ordinance should be separate.
Council member Dr. Tom Fellner said alcohol in the parks is a deal breaker for him.
“I move to table it and send the ordinance back to committee to separate the two issues,” he said.
Council member Shirley Clark said that the ordinance would not allow drinking in the parks on a regular basis.
“It must be a non-profit organization that applies for a permit from the city then if that is approved, they have to apply for a temporary license from the state liquor board and must pass very strict requirements to be able to get the license. The ordinance would not allow just anybody to go drink alcohol in the parks,” Clark said.
Council voted to table the ordinance and send it back to the law and ordinances committee in a vote of five to one with Clark being the sole vote against it.
Galion resident Don Faulds said he opposes an ordinance to amend zoning for outdoor dining.
“Why do we want to obstruct city sidewalks,” he said.
Faulds pointed out that businesses such as the Eighteen-O’ Three Taproom have space in the rear of the business to create an outdoor seating area.
Eric Flick said that he wants to know if Faulds has ever owned a business and needed to attract people to that business.
“Allowing outdoor seating at downtown businesses attracts more people to the downtown area,” he said.
Law director Tom Palmer said that the ordinance already in place allows retail and eating establishments to create a temporary outdoor trade area.
“This amendment would allow businesses to create a permanent outdoor seating area instead of being required to take things like tables and chairs inside each evening,” he said.
The amendment was also tabled and sent back to committee by council.
In other business, council voted as emergencies to the following ordinances and resolutions:
• Amend fire pension
• Approve motion of investment committee
• Authorize city service-safety director to bid a culvert project and a screw pump replacement
• Authorize auditor to enter into an agreement with United Bank for depository
• Then and now to pay Perry and Associates for an audit in 2014
• An ordinance amending appropriations for 2016
Todd Eagle was sworn in as fire lieutenant at the beginning of the meeting with his family by his side.
The next city council meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on June 14 in council chambers at the Galion Municipal Building.
Reach Gasuras on Twitter: @kimberlygasuras