Zachary officials are pondering changes to rules that govern when alcohol can be sold in the city, including letting restaurants begin serving alcohol at 11 a.m. on Sundays and allowing stores to begin selling alcohol at 6 a.m. any day of the week.
The proposed ordinance, which the city council discussed Tuesday, was prepared by City Attorney John Hopewell at the request of Councilman Brandon Noel. Council members voted to table the proposal so they can gather more information.
Noel said he and Councilwoman Laura O’Brien recently met with local grocers who are worried about losing business to stores outside of Zachary. He said some stores appear to be losing money because of the city’s rules on alcohol sales.
“They can see the difference in their data at the store here versus other areas,” Noel said.
O’Brien said new restaurants coming to town may be missing out on Sunday brunch crowds, and the city on additional tax revenue.
The proposed ordinance would allow alcohol sales for on-premise consumption, such as at a restaurant, between 6 a.m. and 2 a.m. of the following day between Monday and Saturday. On Sunday, sales would be allowed from 11 a.m. to midnight. Alcohol sold at grocery or liquor stores for off-premise consumption would be banned from 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. on any day.
Mayor David Amrhein raised concerns about the proposal and cautioned the council to “be real careful” when they make a decision on the matter.
“I don’t have a problem with the restaurants, but to say we can open a liquor store in Zachary at 6 o’clock in the morning … where are we going to wind up with this? Are we going to wind up where you can buy it 24/7?” he said.
Also at the meeting, the council heard from Main Street resident Crystal Gillespie, who complained that vehicles often speed and run stop signs at the intersection of Main and 37th streets. She asked the mayor and council to consider installing speed bumps and stop sign cameras — but Amrhein said the city previously has had to remove speed bumps installed elsewhere in Zachary.
“We took them out because of them (drivers) wanting the city to fix their front ends” of vehicles, he said.
And the mayor said he does not “believe in cameras.”
“To sit there and arbitrarily get a ticket from a camera, no ma’am,” Amrhein told Gillespie, adding that installing cameras would likely be perceived as a money grab.
In other business, council members:
• Approved Monica Jackson as Zachary’s new utility meter director. Jackson, who Amrhein said has more than 20 years of experience in banking, starts in the role on March 27.
• Adopted an ordinance that imposes fines to be assessed when security systems give more than three false alarms in one year.
• Received a city-parish check for $750,000 from Metro Councilman Trae Welch for sidewalks, bike paths and other projects to be completed in the Zachary area as part of the city-parish’s Green Light Plan.