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Council considers loosening rules on alcohol

Brookings City Council on Monday will debate a proposed overhaul in its regulations regarding alcohol in public areas, loosening rules that in the past have prohibited bringing such beverages to weddings at the Capella by the Sea or to music festivals in Azalea Park.


The council meeting is slated for 7 p.m. at City Hall.

The issue was brought up in a recent city council work session, when Councilor Bill Hamilton said he’s talked with people about the issue and wondered if current codes involving alcohol deter event organizers from holding events here.

If approved as proposed, the changes would allow the consumption, possession and sale of beer and wine in city-owned parks — but only with a permit. Some areas would be off-limits, as well, including any city athletic field and within 100 feet of Kidtown in Azalea Park.

The sale of any beverage on city premises shall also require a temporary sales license from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and approval from the city’s police chief. Sales and consumption of alcohol beverages would only be permitted within a “well-defined” boundary as depicted by the applicant in their permit.

The permit, as well, could be revoked if any activity at the event poses a danger or nuisance to others or if illegal activities take place.

Councilor Brent Hodges said in the work session he believes it would be nice if people attending a concert at Azalea Park could enjoy a bottle of wine. Hamilton wondered how many couples might have been deterred in the past from holding weddings in the park or the Capella because of alcohol restrictions.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said Vi Burton, one of the event coordinators for Festival of Art in Stout Park. “I would have been nice if people could have walked around, enjoyed the art and sipped on some wine. There are laws on the book about drunkenness, so I can’t see that’s a problem.”

Other councilors agreed that the people who attend such events — including chamber mixers, wine- and food-tastings or stage performances — aren’t usually the kind who are going to cause trouble.

Gold Beach recently held a beer- and wine-tasting event in conjunction with arts and music, and there were no problems. And the popularity of microbreweries opening throughout the state has drawn tens of thousands of visitors – and their money — to even remote, small towns.

The Arcata Main Street Oyster Festival this summer attracted thousands of people — and that despite the fact event holders this year charged $10 to attend the historically free event. Money generated is funneled back into the community in the form of picnics, concerts and holiday events.

“I really think they need to get that changed,” Burton said. “It might help attendance at other outdoor events. And you just know it’d draw more business to the Capella.” 

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