This story has been updated.
The Metro Council voted to defer an ordinance last night that would exempt council-approved restaurants from a law currently barring them from selling beer within 100 feet of residences.
Councilman Jamie Hollin, the bill’s lead sponsor, said the deferral was made to add an amendment to the bill, which is now slated to come back to the council on second reading in August.
The council defeated a similar ordinance earlier this year.
Metro, which regulates beer licensing, maintains distance requirements for restaurants that sell beer. Any restaurant that wanted to sell beer under the new law would have to gain council approval with an individual resolution.
Meanwhile, the sale of liquor, governed by the state, is not beholden to any distance restriction. Hollin’s bill would allow the sale of beer at any restaurant that can currently sell liquor under state law.
Right now, in order to receive a beer permit, an establishment that falls within 100 feet from a house must go through an application process that can take six to seven months to navigate.
On the same night Hollin’s bill was deferred, the council approved an ordinance on second reading sponsored by Councilman Mike Jameson that would exempt Puckett’s Grocery & Restaurant from going through the normal beer-permitting process.
Puckett’s is a new restaurant planned for downtown Church Street. The council approved Jameson’s ordinance by a 27-7 vote, with dissenters expressing concern over the precedent such an exemption would set.
Jameson said he and Puckett’s ownership have met with the Urban Residents Association, the Downtown Partnership and the board of the nearby Downtown Presbyterian Church –– the basic requirements in the beer-permit process. He said all three parties support Puckett’s desire to sell beer.
Jameson’s bill will go before the council on third and final reading next month. The council agreed to hold a public hearing on the issue on the same night.
• The council deferred a memorializing resolution that would request that the Metro parks board plant an evergreen tree at the downtown public square instead of chopping one down each year as the holiday season approaches.
The council will consider the non-binding resolution next month.
It’s Metro’s custom to erect a tree in front of the courthouse each winter before decorating it with Christmas decorations.
Councilwoman Karen Bennett, the resolution’s sponsor, has said her goal is to protect trees.