The Emerson City Council voted unanimously to give a local vendor two-and-a-half extra hours each day to serve alcoholic beverages at LakePoint Sporting Community at Monday evening’s public meeting.
Under the license amendment, Top Shelf Concessions, Inc. will now be able to sell beer and wine at certain locations within LakePoint from 12:30 to 9:30 p.m.
“As we go into the summer, the days get longer, so what we are proposing is to raise the time limit from 7 p.m. to the beginning of the last game of the evening,” said applicant Tony Black.
The council previously authorized Top Shelf Concessions, Inc. to sell alcoholic beverages near LakePoint’s baseball and soccer fields in April.
“During the presentation, it was noted that the hours of operation would be from 12:30 to 7 p.m. — a maximum of three drinks per person,” Emerson City Manager Kevin McBurnett said. “And they would have an officer on staff during times they were selling the alcohol.”
Initially, Black’s proposal had no sales cutoff time specified. Rather, he asked council to extend the company’s alcohol sales hours until “the beginning of the last game of the evening.”
With the average game taking close to two and a half hours, Black said that was ample time for a 12-ounce beer or an 8-ounce wine to “pass through” customers before they hit the local roads.
“We’re not asking to change the three maximum,” he said. “The officer will still be onsite all the way through that time period that is being asked to be changed. All we’re doing is we’re saying ‘Hey, the tournaments are running later, games are going later and we’re wanting to just extend the time to give the people who are attending the later games an opportunity to also experience the alcohol when they watch the baseball games.’”
Some members of the council however, did have some concerns about that particular proposal.
“I’ve been there when we’ve had games start after midnight,” said Councilman Donnie Bagwell. “We’ve got to remember who our audience is, so we’re talking 17-and-under kids. Sometimes in the heat of the game, sometimes those things just may not work out right.”
Emerson Mayor Al Pallone also weighed in on Black’s original request.
“We’ve got to have a fixed time,” he said. “We can’t have it a floating time.”
At that point, the applicant asked if 9:30 p.m. would be an acceptable time for “last call."
The council — absent members Gerald Earwood and Vincent Wiley — had no objections and approved the hours of operation amendment shortly thereafter.
Black said the company has been selling alcoholic beverages at LakePoint for about a month.
“With the three-drink maximum, I don’t think anybody is going to get overly-intoxicated,” he said. “We just completed our fourth weekend of sales … I’ve spoken to most of the officers that have been out there and we really haven’t had any incidents.”
And as long as things stay that way, Pallone said the City has no issues with such sales at LakePoint.
“Obviously, if there starts being a problem then we’ll have to address it,” he added.
The council unanimously approved one other alcohol-related item at Monday evening’s meeting — a resolution to establish a “brunch bill” referendum, which would allow municipal voters to decide whether or not the City will allow Sunday on-premise alcohol consumption sales to begin at 11 a.m. instead of 12:30 p.m.
“What this resolution is doing is authorizing the election superintendent to move forward and have placed on the November ballot a referendum for the citizens to vote on,” McBurnett told the council. “If it passes, then it’s up to you … we will put before you an ordinance for you to debate over.”