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Porterdale mulls Sunday alcohol

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

PORTERDALE -- Package sales of alcoholic beverages on Sunday was a topic of discussion for the Porterdale City Council at its work session Thursday night.

Councilwoman Arline Chapman first broached the subject, saying that package sales on Sunday could be an economic benefit to the city.

Councilman Robert Foxworth agreed, but not all council members were of the same mind. Councilman Lowell Chambers asked if liquor stores are the kind of economic development the city wants to encourage. He pointed to the city's ordinances allowing wine bars and restaurant sales by the drink, saying the city has focused on more upscale developments than liquor stores.

"I see it as driving the town down, not up," Chambers said.

Chapman said that she believes the issue should be put on the ballot in November.

"The people will decide, but I think we should put it on the ballot," she said.

The General Assembly passed legislation in the 2011 session allowing local jurisdictions to hold referendums on retail package sales on Sunday.

A referendum won't be the only hurdle to clear in order to have package sales on Sunday in Porterdale, however. City ordinances require that a certain percentage of registered voters in the city must petition the City Council in order for a liquor store to be located in the city limits.

The council also discussed changing its on-premise consumption ordinance to allow by-the-drink sales of alcohol beginning at 11 a.m. on Sunday. The law currently allows Sunday sales to begin at 1 p.m. The change would accommodate Sunday brunch business in Porterdale restaurants.

The item will be placed on the City Council agenda for the Monday, May 2, regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.