Decatur holds public hearing on new alcohol ordinance proposal

City leaders want the new alcohol-food ratio to change to 25% food, 75% alcohol ratio.

Posted: Oct. 10, 2018 5:43 PM
Updated: Oct. 11, 2018 9:45 AM

Downtown Decatur business owners gave their input on potential changes in the alcohol ordinance at restaurants. Right now, restaurants must sell 60% of food and can sell 40% alcohol. City leaders wanted the public's opinion of a 25% food, 75% alcohol ratio.

Many restaurant owners were scared the ratio change means bars, clubs and lounges could move to downtown Decatur, but they later learned this change would just allow restaurants to stay open later to sell more alcohol if they wanted to.

Tyler Jones owns three restaurants but said the possible alcohol sales increase won't impact him.

"We shut down at 9 at night for a number of reasons. There are some that stay open later and cater to more of a bar crowd at night," said Tyler Jones.

WAAY 31 spoke with Karen Smith with Decatur's planning commission. She explained current restaurant owners shouldn't feel threatened by this change.

"They are not required to sell any alcohol at all. This does make provisions for them to sell more alcohol than food. If they choose to they can," Karen Smith said.

Millennials like Miracle Osborne say they have noticed downtown Decatur growing. She said she's all for the change to brighten the night light.

"Whether it's Athens, Trinity or Priceville, wherever it may be. Instead of having to make that trip to Huntsville, they can come to Decatur as an option and potentially they would want to come and live here. We want to grow Decatur," said MIracle Osborne.

In two weeks, the planning committee will make a recommendation to the city to change the ordinance. After that, the city council will decide whether or not to put it on the agenda.

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