Southside City Council holds special meeting regarding the handling of private club permits

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Southside City Attorney Buck Gibson answered councilmembers questions during a special City Council meeting Monday night at Southside City Hall.

The discussion centered around the city working to decide whether or not to put a policy or ordinance in place in regards to private club applications.

Last week, White River Now reported that the local Mexican restaurant, Las Playitas, approached the council requesting a private club permit. (Click here for that story.)

According to Act 1112 for the State of Arkansas that was set into motion in April 2017, cities and/or counties are now the primary contact for businesses wanting to apply for a private club permit. The governing body is required to enact an ordinance approving or denying the application before it can go to the Alcohol Beverage Control Board for further consideration.

The aforementioned law impacts all counties, wet and dry.

Currently, the city of Southside does not have such an ordinance in place due to being the newest city in Arkansas.

Gibson addressed numerous concerns of the council. The statute itself regarding this issuance of private club permits contains no guidance.

The city did not move to make a decision Monday, but worked to gain as much clarity as possible for any future decisions to be made.

The city itself will not issue permits, however, it will act as a gatekeeper of applications that go to the ABC Board if they decide to accept applications for private club permits.

As a municipality, the council could enact additional permit fees, taxes on beverages, and more on top of the ABC Board’s annual fee of $1,500 within the ordinance’s requirements for operating with a private club permit.

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