Terrytown Council nixes expanded alcohol sales

January 6, 2019

Terrytown City Council opted against extending hours for alcohol sales during its meeting Thursday.

The council considered a proposal from Marcus Lind, owner of Heaven, an events center in Terrytown. He asked the council if they would consider extending the hours for alcohol sales from the current 1 a.m. to 2 a.m., which is allowed under state statute.

Lind explained his center hosts a number of receptions, which is different from a bar that stays open to 2 a.m.

“Sometimes the people attending the reception want to take part in the festivities a bit longer,” he said. “Plus, some people get off work late and extended hours would give them an option to be part of the celebration.”

He said his event center wouldn’t necessarily be open until 2 a.m., even if the authority was there. On their New Year’s Eve opening, the crowd had left by about 11:30 p.m.

Lind said extended hours would be a small step in the right direction toward offering more entertainment options for people to stay here, which in turn would add to the area’s economic development.

Scottsbluff Police Chief Kevin Spencer didn’t agree with Lind’s view that drunken driving is an offense that will always be a problem.

“We have zero tolerance for DUI violations,” Spencer said. “We’ve done a great job encouraging designated drivers and people making good decisions. I don’t see how staying open until 2 a.m. makes us safer, especially since both Scottsbluff and Gering are closing at 1 a.m.”

Lanette Richards, director of Monument Prevention Coalition, said alcohol can currently be sold in Terrytown from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., a total of 19 hours every day.

“The Centers for Disease Control suggests reduced hours of sale as a way for communities to foster an environment that doesn’t promote excessive drinking,” she said. “Extending the hours to 2 a.m. does the exact opposite and Nebraska already has an alcohol problem. In 2017, we ranked eighth worst in the nation.”

Terrytown City Attorney Libby Stobel told council members if they were to consider changing the ordinance, they should retain the three readings for the passage of ordinances and allow time for public comment.

After some discussion, council member unanimously agreed to not consider the proposed ordinance change.

During the council meeting, a familiar face was named the newest member of the council. The Terrytown City Council member isn’t unfamiliar with city government. Jerry Green has been on the council since Terrytown became a city in 2007.

Green was defeated for re-election in November by fellow Ward 2 resident Mike Minzey. But when Chris Perales, also from Ward 2, was elected mayor, it created a vacancy for a two-year term.

Although three people applied for the council position, Green clearly had the expertise the city wanted. After an appointment from the mayor, Green was sworn in at the beginning of the January council meeting.

Council members also heard from City Engineer Jeff Wolfe on the city’s one- and six-year street improvement program.

Only maintenance has been performed on city streets for several years. As the city’s water system upgrade project continues, some water mains may need to be replaced. That would require cutting through the pavement.

Wolfe recommended, and council approved, continuing maintenance only until the water project is completed in 2020.

Wolfe also pointed out the only new project on the six-year plan that would pave the public right-of-way on the south side of the Carpenter Center.

“I’d recommend you schedule some public hearings if you plan to go ahead with that one,” Wolfe said. “Residents of the subdivision that were annexed into Terrytown were under the impression that road would never be built.”

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