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Liquor OK for private club sales

PORTERDALE - Residents voted in favor of allowing private clubs to sell liquor by the drink in a referendum held Nov. 4 in conjunction with the general election.

According to a spokeswoman at City Hall, 86 residents voted in favor of the measure, with 21 opposed.

Porterdale already has a liquor by the drink ordinance for restaurants. Last week's referendum addressed only private clubs. City Attorney Tim Chambers said the city's existing ordinance already contains language addressing private clubs so there will be no need to enact a new ordinance.

The council voted in August to call for the referendum after the city annexed the Covington Elks Lodge into its corporate limits. The annexation took effect Sept. 1.

City Manager Tom Fox said last week that the Elks Lodge is the only private club in Porterdale that would currently qualify to serve alcohol under the new ruling.

Ray Edwards, a trustee for the Elks Lodge, said at the time of the annexation that a major reason the Elks asked to be annexed into Porterdale was in order to allow alcohol sales for member events and for those who rent out the facility for wedding rehearsals and other events.

The city's code of ordinances defines a private club, in part, as "any nonprofit fraternal association organized under the laws of this state which has been in existence at least one year prior to the filing of its application for a license to be issued pursuant to this ordinance; has at least 75 regular dues paying members; owns, hires or leases a building or space within a building for the reasonable use of its members, which building or space has suitable kitchen and dining room space and equipment, and is staffed with a sufficient number of employees for cooking, preparing, and serving meals for its members and guests; and has no member, officer, agent or employee directly or indirectly receiving, in the form of salary or other compensation, any profits for the sale of alcoholic beverages beyond a fixed salary."

Alice Queen can be reached at alice.queen@newtoncitizen.com.