Commissioners Revisit On-Premise Liquor Sales & Licenses in Madison County

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) -- Obtaining liquor licenses in Madison County is not getting any easier--just yet, that is.

The county liquor license issue is much more complicated than simply granting Mexican restaurants the ability to serve margaritas to their queso-dipping customers. There are many variables that come into play as far as bar or restaurant distances from schools, churches, public parks and residential areas.

Instead of passing 'piece-meal' resolutions that only deal with a couple of issues at a time the Madison County Commission has decided to go back to the drawing board to put their heads together to try to come up with a more comprehensive amendment that will not only try to secure new tax revenue in the county but also preserve the quality of life without stifling potential economic growth.

The county is looking at ways to amend the existing regulations regarding on-premise liquor sales in the county to encourage more restaurant development. Because of all the restrictions in place there have not been any new licenses granted in the county following the 2011 resolution; but there have been plenty of unapproved applications say county attorney Jeff Rich. While businesses deal with strict parameters, commissioners say they must contend with complaining county citizens when it come to noise and rowdy patrons.

"We have a nightclub out there right now that's already disturbing the neighborhoods we live in and we can't control it," said district 4 commissioner Phil Vandiver.

But along with concerns is the necessity for a progressive approach, argues district 6 commissioner Bob Harrison.

"We can't avoid moving forward on this forever," Harrison said, "We have to find a way to give the people what they want while keeping things in line."

County Commission Chairman Dale Strong concurred with Harrison.

"Madison County has changed and people are wanting some changes to come along with that," said Strong.  "So what we're doing is asking each commissioner to bring their recommendations to the county attorney--let's determine the appropriate way to go forward with this--we want to be sure that it's good for Madison County and that is doesn't jeopardize the quality of life."

County commissioners are discussing taking up the issue at a future work session so they can spend some quality time focusing ion the county liquor sales issue.

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