People with an opinion on how Tyler should plan for legalized alcohol sales can voice them Tuesday to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission.
Officials want to make sure city ordinances are updated so that if voters approve legalized alcohol sales, the new retail activities are a good fit for Tyler.
Voters head to the polls Tuesday, the same day as the public hearing, to decide whether alcohol can be sold legally within the city limits of Tyler and Smith County Justice Precinct 2, which includes southwest Tyler, Flint and Bullard.
If the measure passes, the council is expected to sign off on the ordinance Nov. 13, prior to canvassing the votes, officials said.
And if it doesn’t, no action is planned, Ms. Guthrie said.
“We are not going to have an ordinance on the books that doesn’t apply to anything,” she said.
State laws address most issues pertaining to alcohol sales, but communities have some regulatory authority on topics such as signage, open containers and distance from places such as schools, churches and hospitals, officials said.
The “Buy Local First” committee first brought up the subject of legalized sales in April and subsequently gained enough local support to call for a vote.
When it was evident the issue would be decided at the polls, city officials adopted a proactive rather than reactive approach.
The current proposal prohibits the sale of beer in residential areas, City Planner Heather Nick said earlier.
Drive-through sales outlets must be enclosed on at least two sides, and can be located only in areas designated for manufacturing, as allowed by a special use permit, records show.
The ordinance relates to pre-packaged items sold directly to the public and does not affect restaurants and existing uses, records show.
The committee was still making changes to the draft last week and more changes would be on the horizon after Tuesday’s hearing, officials said.
“Our hands are bound on what we’re allowed to do by state law,” Ms. Guthrie said.
A draft of the proposed changes can be viewed at www.cityoftyler.org, ahead of the meeting.
“We want to be proactive in reviewing and getting ordinances prepared in the event the election does pass,” Mayor Barbara Bass said. “We will continue to look at that the city council needs to do to make sure the beauty of Tyler is maintained.”
The mayor said Tyler touts itself as a city filled with natural beauty and it’s important that it stay that way.
“It’s important for our quality of life and it’s what makes Tyler special,” Mayor Bass said. “How anybody votes is their decision.”
The second option permits the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only. This version was overwhelmingly approved by Tyler voters in 2008, but the current effort would expand sales to areas annexed after 2008 and in Justice Precinct 2.
Officials said they expect a strong turn-out for the public hearing.
“We talk a lot about getting people to join boards and commissions,” Ms. Guthrie said. “This (process) is the democratic process at its best.”