Original Ordinance Hastily Done
Signage is one of the many flawed provisions in the new beer ordinance. Mayor Hart talked about it at the last Board meeting, as the Herald reported. “The rationale, [the Mayor] believed, was to hold down on some of the things you see in some towns. ‘Banners flying and that sort of thing. . . . That was part of the original ordinance and we haven’t done anything with that to speak of.'”
City Attorney David Burns spoke to the Board of Aldermen about beer signage in 2007. He told them that ‘banner signs’ were already covered in the sign ordinance. They still are today. Mr. Burns also commented that the preparation of the beer ordinance “was done kind of on the fly.” (An audio recording of the Dec. 18, 2007 meeting is available, if anyone is interested.)
The original beer ordinance was not the carefully considered piece of jurisprudence that the Mayor would have you believe. It was thrown together in haste, and passed in confusion—because the local politicians never thought beer would be voted in. Many of you will recall a period there for 30 days when cold beer was legally sold in Water Valley! Somehow, though, the folks selling cold beer were not “grandfathered” to keep selling it. Which seems a little strange, considering Mr. Crow said at the most recent board meeting—again quoting from the Herald—”a grandfather clause was not needed in the [beer] ordinance because general law covers those who are already in operation if something changes.”
The current ordinance compounds the flaws of the original one. Signage needs to be removed from the beer ordinance, just as the Mayor has agreed to remove the provisions for “beer served only with food,” “no single sales,” “monthly and quarterly reports” and other portions (exorbitant fees). All of which showed a total lack of understanding of the beer business by the folks who cobbled this ordinance together.
Scrap the entire beer ordinance, repeal it, lay it to rest. In its place put a new ordinance that is effective, enforceable, and drafted by people who know something about the state’s alcohol laws—an ordnance that doesn’t scare off new investment, and, most importantly, one that reflects the will of the people of Water Valley.