Thursday, May 4, 2017

Cheers! Part IV, Between the Second and Third Reading of Ordinance 2016-10, the City Eliminates Distance Protections.

Material changes were made to proposed Ordinance 2016-10 between the second reading on November 14 and the third reading on November 28. These changes amended section 3-114, part of Article II of the Code of Ordinances. (Article II regulates intoxicating liquors.) These changes to section 3-114 were neither red-lined in the aldermen's packet so that the aldermen would take note of them, nor were theses changes addressed by the City during the November 28 meeting.  

I am including the before and after versions of section 3-114. These are excerpts from the aldermen's packets from the second and third meetings. (click to enlarge):

November 14

 November 28

Note the significant differences pertaining to distance protections in section 3-114 that were not red-lined in the aldermen's packets for the November 28 meeting.  

First, "residential neighborhoods" was ENTIRELY removed from section 3-114. Question: Does the city place so little value on our residential neighborhoods that it feels this removal of the distance protection for homes is of such little consequence that this change merits neither red-lining the version of section 3-114 that was given to the aldermen for the November 28 meeting, nor discussion during the public meetings? 

Second, the word "inimical" in the November 14 version (this version was the code section then in effect) has a much broader meaning than that of the replacement language added prior to the November 28 meeting - i.e., "cause congestion of traffic or interference with schools, churches interfere with public health and safety." 

I find it concerning that these changes were made before the third reading of proposed Ordinance 2016-10 without red-lined notice being given to the aldermen. Even worse, no notice was given to the public, who, as I have explained in previous posts, thought that proposed ordinance 2016-10 was about beer sales. Transparency was clearly tossed to the wayside.

The City did not explain these changes until the April 24, 2017 BMA meeting. The entire April 24 public hearing is found here:    

April 24, 2017  (1:01.39)

At 105:45, the City, through its attorney, David Harris, finally provided us with its reasoning for the changes to section 3-114. The explanation was that the City wanted to make section 3-114 consistent with a corresponding beer code section. The City thus was intended to change an alcohol code section; yet, when giving notice of the meetings, it told the public it was changing beer sections.

These changes should have been noticed to the public sufficiently in advance of the November 28 meeting so that citizens could have the opportunity to be heard before the final vote on proposed Ordinance 2016-10 on November 28. 

Here is the complete list of posts in the series on the recent alcohol ordinances: 

Cheers! Part I, The Ordinance Nobody Knew About

Cheers! Part II, The City Muddies the Waters with Last Ditch Legal Argument.

Cheers! Part III, The City Fails to Adequately Notify the Public. 

Cheers! Part IV, Between the Second and Third Reading of Ordinance 2016-10, the City Eliminates Distance Protections. 

Cheers! Part V Proposed ordinance 2017-6

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