County delays alcohol sales workshop

-A A +A

Commissioners have been getting feedback

By Lou Elliott Jones

The Levy County Commission workshop on extending alcohol sales beyond midnight in the unincorporated ares will not be held on March 5, said County Coordinator Fred Moody.

He said the commissioners were hearing from residents about the proposal and realized it would need a bigger meeting place than the commission meeting room at the courthouse to accommodate the anticipated crowd.  He said the 1 p.m. meeting time also was not convenient for some citizens. 

The matter of when or even whether to hold the workshop will be taken up at the March 5 meeting.

The Levy County Commission scheduled the workshop after a briefing from County Attorney Anne Bast Brown on proposed changes to the midnight to 7 a.m. ban on alcohol sales, consumption and service between midnight and 7 a.m. The ban would change to between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. The matter came up at the commission's Feb. 18 meeting.

The change in the ordinance would affect only four restaurants in the unincorporated county area — Willard's Tavern and Sun Ray Tavern in the Morriston area, Treasure Camp in Fowlers Bluff and Beef O'Brady's north of Chiefland.  The change was requested by Tom Trammell, the owner of Willard's at a December commission meeting. 

Commissioner John Meeks of Bronson (R-District 1) said he favors a midnight closing on Saturday. “I think midnight on Saturday night is a good idea.”

Commission Chair Ryan Bell of Chiefland (R-District 4), a restaurant owner, said there are some pay-per-view sports events, which people go to a business to watch, that air after midnight and can affect a business' ability to attract customers. 

Bell cited the city of Chiefland's ban on Sunday alcohol sales as putting a damper on Superbowl parties at restaurants and sports bars. “They miss out on Super Sunday,” he said. 

Commissioner Mike Joyner of Morriston (R-District 3) asked if the county could require the places selling alcohol under the extended hours to hire off-duty law enforcement officers for security. 

“If there's a fight he's going to have to send deputies from Bronson and Chiefland,” and elsewhere,” Joyner said pointing to Sheriff Bobby McCallum who attended the Feb. 18 meeting.

McCallum said most of  the alcohol-related cases are in incorporated areas that do not have their own police force and occur away from the bars.