The city of Red Bank passed a new beer ordinance Tuesday night, making it legal for businesses to serve beer within 300 feet of a church or school — even businesses with a pool table on site.
"That's one of my things that I've championed," Commissioner Pete Philips said of updating the city's beer ordinance. "There were things in there that were just absolutely asinine, where you could not have a pool table and sell beer. You cannot have dancing and sell beer, for some reason. I think this will at least bring us up to the 20th century, if not the 21st century."
Under the new ordinance, establishments can serve beer containing up to 10.1% alcohol by volume between 10 a.m. and 1 a.m.
It also allows the city to issue special permits to event vendors and caterers to serve alcohol at events held at city parks, which has not been allowed in the past. The commission approved the first such permit Tuesday night, with the condition of the new ordinance passing.
A stipulation in the old beer ordinance that required establishments to have separate restrooms for men and women to get a beer license is not included in the new law. The required number of restrooms is now based on occupancy levels, as is the case for all other businesses.
City Manager Martin Granham said the ordinance now states that the law does not apply to homebrewers, which was an addition made after the commissioners took their first vote on the ordinance on Oct. 19.
On both readings, Ruth Jeno was the only commissioner to vote against passing the ordinance.
"The ordinances definitely needed to be updated, but there are a few things that I'm not OK with," said Jeno, who was in favor of cutting off beer sales at midnight rather than 1 a.m.
She also opposed eliminating the requirement that establishments that serve alcohol be at least 300 feet away from churches and schools.
"I'm all for economic development, I want nice restaurants," said Jeno, adding that she supported the referendum that passed 12 years ago allowing the sale of liquor by the drink in the city. "We're just disrespecting our children and our churches."
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