The Mayfield City Council plans to consider an ordinance Monday that could once again allow bars in the city, along with other businesses that want to offer alcohol to customers.
The city drafted the ordinance once again permitting quota retail drink licenses at the request of four existing Mayfield businesses interested in serving alcohol at their events instead of having to hire a caterer with a license. The businesses forwarded the letters to the finance and administration committee through Graves County Economic Development, Mayor Kathy O'Nan said. The committee then voted to send the ordinance on for full consideration by the council.
"We have had no requests from bars or taverns so far," O'Nan said. "All of our requests have been from local establishments that have said they would like to have alcohol for special events at their businesses."
Jana Duffy, owner of the downtown clothing boutique Anaj, said she requested the ordinance so she could serve alcohol at special shopping events. A "Fine As Wine" evening shopping event at her store in February went well, but she said much of her profits went into paying for the only caterer in town with a liquor license.
That caterer also stays busy, she said, so events must be planned far in advance. Duffy said small businesses need more flexibility in planning their events and can't afford to hire a caterer often.
"It can be a huge burden," she said. "It can cut half into your profit."
She sees the ability to have a license herself as putting her on an even playing field with bigger businesses that can afford a caterer more often or those in larger cities able to obtain such licenses already.
"I want our small businesses to flourish," Duffy said.
Although O'Nan did not name the other letter-writers, Duffy said she had talked to a salon, spa and people involved in the art community who were also interested in the ability to obtain a license for their business.
"We're not doing it to promote alcohol," Duffy said. "We're doing it as an added luxury."
Additionally, she said, some real estate agents told her they would like to be able to offer wine and cheese at open houses when appropriate.
"There are several businesses around who have said it would be beneficial to them," she said.
The Mayfield City Council prohibited the issuance of quota retail drink licenses in 2018. The licenses affect bars, bowling alleys, spas, salons and events centers, taprooms not on the site of a winery, brewery or distillery and specialty businesses, such as those where people sip wine while painting. It does not affect restaurants that sell food as well as alcohol, liquor stores, convenience stores that sell alcohol or caterers.
Four council members, Johnny Jackson, Chuck Whitnell, Wayne Potts and Nick Summers, voted in favor of the ban in January 2018. Four other council members, Steven Elder, Barry McDonald, O'Nan and Nate Cox opposed it. Council members Phil Myers and Jana Adams were absent. Former Mayor Teresa Rochetti-Cantrell broke the tie in favor of banning the sales.
Since then, several of the seats on the city council have changed, however. Council members Derrick Parrott, Brad Rodgers and Carol Todd were elected in November. In the same election, Elder lost to O'Nan in the election for mayor instead of running for election to the council. Potts died earlier this year. Summers lost last November's election, but the council voted to appoint him to Potts' seat until a special election this November.
None of the council members have yet expressed their views on the new ordinance, which must be read at two separate meetings and voted on by the council to become law. A majority of six people is needed for it to pass. O'Nan would break a tie vote but would otherwise not vote.
This ordinance is different from that the council considered in 2018 in a few ways, however. The first, O'Nan said, is that a state law change no longer restricts by city population size the number of quota drink licenses a city may issue. The number is now unlimited. When previously allowed, the city could have up to four licenses of that type.
The law change did not affect the number of liquor stores Mayfield may allow, which remains at four.
The ordinance also addresses a request from those already selling or serving alcohol to increase to 90 days the amount of time servers have to receive training, and it allows stores with package sales to begin serving at noon on Sundays instead of 1 p.m.
Owners of M.T. Winchester, a tavern that formerly operated in the Mayfield Shopping Plaza, had complained about a restriction preventing them from selling alcohol after midnight, requesting an extension, at first for two hours, then for one. O'Nan said the ordinance does not change that, so sales will still end at midnight.
In addition to the finance and administration committee and department heads reviewing the draft ordinance, O'Nan said a regional alcoholic beverage control official also looked at it to make sure it was in compliance with state requirements.