Hampton votes no on alcohol ordinance

By Monroe Roark
Times Correspondent

Hampton’s proposed alcoholic beverage ordinance did not pass its second reading at last week’s City Council reading, but a retooled version could come up for discussion next month.

After the first reading passed in February with a 4-3 vote that required Mayor Steve Hutchison to break the tie, the measure which would have allowed alcohol on public streets and sidewalks during certain events failed this time by a 4-2 margin, with only Mary Ann Mitcham and Ann Tarpley in favor.

Chris Moore, who voted in favor in February but cast a negative vote last week, introduced a compromise of sorts that would permit a group hosting a special event in a building such as the Depot to apply for a special alcohol use permit. If this passes, such requests will come before the council and be decided on a case-by-case basis, which means that getting a special event permit would not necessarily guarantee approval for alcohol.

“Somebody would apply under the special event use and if they wanted alcohol, there would be a special application listing the requirements they would have to meet and it would have to go before the council for approval,” said city manager Daryl Dotschay.

This new proposal is still just that - a proposal. The council directed the city attorney to move forward with putting a measure together that would be considered for a first reading at the April meeting. If approved there, the second reading and overall approval would come at the May meeting.

In February the council met at the Depot because the crowd was much larger than normal and nearly everyone came to see how this issue would be handled. The most recent meeting was back in the regular council chambers.

“It was a full crowd but we still had room,” said Dotschay. “It was definitely down from before.”