Jonesboro works to develop ordinance for liquor licenses

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - In the summer, Arkansas lawmakers passed a bill stating the Alcoholic Beverage Control board could not consider an application for a private club license without the permission of the local governing body.

Now, the city of Jonesboro is working to make adjustments.

"In this case, we will take it before the city council," Jonesboro City Attorney Carol Duncan said. "Nobody saw this coming because everyone was so focused on the issues with the medical marijuana that this went through without anyone knowing it was happening. It's not just us, but several cities were caught off guard."

Duncan said she, the mayor and several other city departments this new legislature will effect are still in the beginning stages of drafting up an ordinance.

"We are trying to develop what the procedures are going to be to have that approval process in order for people to submit that application to ABC in Little Rock," said Duncan.

Duncan says this will be a major change in comparison to the process that they've always done in the past.

"It has never been this way and I don't know why they changed it," said Duncan. "People would submit an application to Little Rock on their own and part of that application process would be that you are required to notify the local governing body, police chief, and the sheriff and that would give them the opportunity to object if they felt it was needed. But we have never had to do an ordinance of approval before."

Duncan said they have come up with starting points of an ordinance to start the discussion with city council members.

"We have honestly plagiarized a lot from the normal state application for now but once the city council looks it over, they will be able to add or take away from this application and change whether or not they'll include an application fee or not. Right now, everything is up in the air," said Duncan.

Duncan said now that they are required by the state to come up with an ordinance for this process, she doesn't know what to expect.

"In recent history, we have had a lot of new restaurants with liquor licenses and those restaurants that wouldn't come here without them," said Duncan. "It will slow down the process a little bit because you have more hoops to jump through before you can even get to Little Rock. I think it is going to slow some things for a while until we have a process in place and until people get used to that process."

On Sept. 5, the Jonesboro Public Safety committee held a special meeting regarding an ordinance that would add to the application process for getting a private club permit.

Duncan said the city's application is similar to the state's application.

The committee voted to move the issue to the full council for discussion.

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