City council approves downtown liquor sales
Restaurants in downtown will now be able to serve a complete line of alcohol after the Baldwin City Council approved rezoning the area on a 3-1 vote.
The approval was an ordinance amending the central business zoning classification to include "drinking establishments qualifying as restaurants" as a permitted use. The ordinance states that there must be 50 percent of revenue through food sales. Bars are not permitted.
"I think it was noted that this is a bit of a watershed moment allowing alcohol sales in downtown," said Council Member Tony Brown. "I think that's a reasonable thing to consider, crossing a line that hasn't been crossed before."
When Baker University was founded 150 years, it sold land to finance building the school. The deeds to that property contained a stipulation that if alcohol was manufactured or sold from the property, the university would regain ownership of the land.
However, Baker has allowed that stipulation to be removed for one downtown business and Baker President Pat Long said it would be considered on a case-by-case basis for other locations.
"We're not advocating bars," said Council Member Ken Wagner. "If we didn't have the 50 percent food regulation, I wouldn't favor this."
Brown was the lone vote against the measure. He had voted for it during the first reading of the ordinance two weeks ago, as did Council Member Ted Brecheisen, Jr. Brecheisen did not vote Monday. He owns the building that has gained the release from Baker.
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