A resolution recently considered by the Brazil City Council regarding the sale of alcoholic beverages at gas stations and convenience stores will not limit or otherwise regulate their sale in local stores.
But Resolution 3-2005, sponsored by Third Ward Councilwoman Ann Bradshaw, allows the Council to officially urge the Indiana General Assembly, Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and Alcoholic Beverage Board of Clay County to stop the proliferation of alcohol outlets commonly referred to as gas stations and convenience stores.
The resolution says the City Council believes a local policy prohibiting the sale of alcoholic beverages at as gas stations and convenience stores is essential to preserving and fostering strong neighborhoods, and cites gas stations and convenience stores as the least regulated points of alcohol sales.
The document also indicates the Council believes that the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and the Clay County Alcoholic Beverage Board should adopt policies prohibiting the sales of alcohol in gas stations and convenience stores. It says the Council asks the Indiana General Assembly to address this issue by defining the term grocery store in a manner consistent with common sense, and and in a way that would stop the proliferation of gas stations and convenience stores.
But in discussion during the recent meeting, Councilman Bill Lovett expressed concern at the possibility of compromising the rights of gas station and convenience store owners. While he doesn't want to make alcohol accessible to minors, he said owners of these businesses must meet the same requirements as grocery stores, and should therefore have the same rights.
"I just feel like that's taking their rights away, as a store owner. If you're going to make them quit selling, I think you should make Kroger and the rest of them quit selling too," he said.
City Attorney Joe Trout cautioned Council members against believing the resolution would have any legal power. It merely expresses an opinion, regardless of the outcome of members' votes.
"Quite frankly, a resolution of this nature isn't a law," he said. "As this clearly states, it's the state that has the authority, not the City Council."
The Council voted to approve the first reading of the resolution. Councilman Lovett voted in opposition.
Meetings of the Brazil City Council are set for 7 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at City Hall. Meetings are open to the public in Council Chambers.