Two people spoke during a special public hearing at Tyler’s Liberty Hall, but only one cited concerns on how the changes could affect the city and its residents.
City leaders said they want to make sure local ordinances are updated so the new retail activities are a good fit for Tyler.
The Tyler City Council is expected to consider and adopt the changes later this month, ahead of the official vote canvass, officials said.
“This is an important time in our community,” Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman David Hudson said. “City staff has worked diligently on this proposal.”
But ultimately the city has limited authority on how it governs alcohol sales, which are subject to oversight by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Hudson said.
“We’re dealing with a state agency and trying to perform” within the limits allowed by law, he added.
Tuesday’s hearing was designed to collect input on the changes before they are adopted into law.
State laws exist for most issues pertaining to alcohol sales, but communities have some regulatory authority on signage, open containers and distance from places such as schools, churches and hospitals, Assistant City Attorney Steve Keane said.
Tuesday’s vote affects the city limits of Tyler and Smith County Justice Precinct 2 that includes southwest Tyler, Flint and Bullard, records show.
Kristi Roberts, director of Tyler-based Sister Cities Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, now NEXT STEP Community Solutions, said she hopes the city can curtail youth exposure to alcohol sales.
“I’m tasked with curbing underage drinking,” she said. “We want to make sure we do everything possible to keep young people from drinking.”
Grant Hudgens, also of Tyler, was the only other person to speak publicly on the issue.
“All my concerns were covered,” he said.
The proposed ordinance prohibits the sale of beer in residential and professional office areas, Ms. Nick said.
“Generally the TABC has control over the hours of operation,” she said.
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, Ms. Nick said.
A mayor’s sub-committee, chaired by Councilman Mark Whatley, was created to look at current state laws and compare them to existing city ordinances, examining topics such as billboards, business hours, permits and aesthetics, Keane said.
The committee still was making changes to the draft last week, officials said.
On Tuesday night, Tyler voters approved the legal sale of beer and wine for off-premises consumption in places such as grocery and convenience stores, and legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants by food and beverage certificate holders only.