City Council Considers Alcohol Permits for Downtown Events

A permitting process is being considered that would allow alcohol to be distributed at some downtown events, fairs and festivals.

are considering the issuance of permits that would allow alcohol to be sold and served at certain downtown events and activities.

Jeffrey Spaulding presented his recommendations at Monday night's regular meeting of the mayor and common council.

Spaulding said he had researched how other jurisdictions around the state deal with the permitting of alcohol sales and distribution at events that might be similiar to Westminster's FallFest and the Flower and Jazz Festival. (The chief and council were not suggesting that alcohol should or will be sold at these events, they were just used as examples of downtown events). 

Do you think alcohol should be allowed at downtown events and fairs? Tell us in comments.

Council member Tony Chiavacci said that allowing alcohol to be sold and served at events and activities in the downtown area might present economic development opportunities for local merchants and the city.

"We want to find balance, try to use this as one more vehicle in which we can bring more activity downtown that would be economically beneficial as well as make the town more fun," Chiavacci said.

He said he sees this permitting process as something that might encourage new events and activities to take place downtown, not necessarily so that alcohol can become a part of existing events.

Spaulding pointed out issues the board might want to consider in creating a permit process, including the cost of security/police at such events, adhering to county liquor laws and possibly stipulating the amount of alcohol that individuals could consume at such events.

Chiavacci said that at least initially, he would like for the council to be responsible for approving requests for alcohol permits for such events as opposed to city staff.

"I don't want to see staff left holding the bag if something doesn't work out," Chiavacci said.

Council President Damian Halstad asked staff to put together language for the permitting process to be presented at the next meeting of the mayor and common council on July 9.


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