City council says no to beer garden plan
There won't be a beer garden for the upcoming Planes, Trains and Automobiles event June 17 in Baldwin City.
A request was made to the Baldwin City Council to allow Wheat State Pizza, 711 Eighth St., to temporarily use the sidewalk area in front of the restaurant as a beer garden for the annual Father's Day event. Wheat State has a license to sell Cereal Malt Beverages and planned on fencing off the area in front to allow patrons to sit outside the building from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. that day.
"I think we should be careful about allowing Cereal Malt Beverages on the streets," said Council Member Doyle Jardon, citing the closeness of the business to the First United Methodist Church and Baker University. "I don't think the city should get in the business of allowing Cereal Malt Beverages in the street."
City Administrator Jeff Dingman said it was only being done for the event.
"It was done to have a beer garden for Trains, Planes and Automobiles," said Dingman. "The event isn't dependent on that."
Jardon didn't want to set a precedent.
"I don't think we should get in that business," he said. "How can you let one (event) have a beer garden and not all of them? Go to Baldwin and drink beer on the streets instead of having a Father's Day event.
"We don't want a bunch of drunks in the street," said Jardon.
He then made a motion to deny the request, which was seconded by Council Member Nancy Brown. It passed 3-1, with Council Member Tony Brown voting against it. Police Chief Mike McKenna had brought up the point to the council that if they granted the request, they would have to amend or suspend the city's ordinance concerning consumption of alcohol in public.
"I think it needs to be looked into further," said Council Member Ted Brecheisen Jr., who joined Jardon and N. Brown in the majority vote. Council President Amy Cleavinger was not at the meeting.
T. Brown also pointed out that the measure didn't promote public drunkenness.
"Doyle, you're right that there are some dangers here," said T. Brown. "But I don't think it leads into a bunch of drunks in the city streets."
"I just try to represent the people who elected me," said Jardon.
"Making the leap from selling beer to public drunkenness is too much," said T. Brown.
Jardon admitted his wording might have been too strong. Brecheisen also clarified his vote, saying that his concern was this matter came out of the blue without time to check into everything, such as the chief's concerns about city ordinances.
"I'm not opposed to it at all," said Brecheisen. "It needs to be looked at. If you're a businessman and your taxes are high, you're looking for ways to make money. The thing here is we couldn't pass this tonight because of the drinking ordinance. I think it needs to be looked into more."