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The Signal Mountain Town Council discussed details of proposed amendments to the town's beer regulations at its Sept. 9 meeting, and is taking time to consider the ramifications of those changes before setting a date for the first vote on the revised ordinance.

Previously, hours of sale for on-premise consumption were restricted to between 10:30 a.m. and 11 p.m. Councilors have requested the cutoff be extended to midnight.

They also asked that the allowable alcohol-by-weight limit for beer be increased from the current 5% to 8% (equivalent to 10% alcohol by volume).

And they want to loosen the existing requirement that mandates that establishments that serve beer also serve lunch and dinner. They would like to see such establishments provide prepared food during their hours of operation, instead of requiring them to serve both lunch and dinner. Councilors discussed eliminating a food sale requirement altogether, but not all were in favor.

"I think tiny movements are advisable," Mayor Dan Landrum said in regards to making drastic changes to the town's beer ordinance, which is currently on the conservative side. "I think we need to leave prepared food in."

He added that an establishment that does not offer food would not be family friendly.

In reviewing the current laws, councilors expressed support for striking a restriction that makes possession of more than three cases of beer by an individual on his or her person or property illegal.

Another change would exempt nonprofits from the annual $100 privilege tax that businesses are required to pay in order to serve alcohol.

Currently, the Mountain Arts Community Center is the only town property where alcohol can be served. The council requested that allowance be expanded to other town venues on a case-by-case basis, as each entity requesting to serve beer at an event would first need to acquire a permit from the council, which acts as the town's beer board.

Email Emily Crisman at ecrisman@timesfreepress.com.

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