Quincy: Commissioners at odds over alcohol

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By Erin Hill

At their May 24 meeting, the Quincy Commission was deadlocked on the first reading of a proposal to revise the city’s distance requirements for the location of alcohol-related businesses.
Commissioner Keith Dowdell said the city has purchased the Kelly lot since proposing to change the ordinance, which might prohibit alcohol sales at downtown events such
as Quincy Fest.
He also said he wanted to add a clause about pending applications on file that weren’t approved because they weren’t in compliance with the current alcohol ordinance.
Commissioner Gerald “Andy” Gay said there was already a clause allowing alcohol sales at festivities regardless of the
The city’s attorney, Scott Shirley, said the ordinance only applies to establishments, not special events.  Shirley also advised against grandfathering applications already on file.
Commissioner Angela Sapp asked if the grandfathering attempt for someone who has applied but hasn’t been given a license.
Shirley said the applications on file weren’t approved because they are not consistent with the current code and proposed code.
Dowdell suggested changing the distance an establishment selling alcohol could be from a church to 100 feet.
Gay said he was not comfortable with many of the repeals.
“I like where we are,” Gay said.
Mayor Daniel McMillan said, “I don’t’ like that it’s been workshopped three or four times, and every time there was a consensus, something changed.”
When it came time to vote, Sapp and Dowdell voted to amend the ordinance with changes, and Gay and McMillan voted against it.  
Commissioner Derick Elias was absent.
In other business, Regina Davis, Director of the Community Redevelopment Agency, requested permission from the Commission to work with the police department to apply for a $500,000 state grant to complete the renovation of the R.D. Edwards building.
The grant cycle opened on May 15 and will close June 15, City Manager Mike Wade said.
Davis said the grant is a cost-reimbursement grant, which means the city would need to identify resources in next year’s budget to fund the grant, and then the city would be reimbursed periodically or at the completion of the grant.  
Davis said when they submit the application, they must provide proof of $50,000.
“We don’t want to hang our hat specifically on getting money for this,” Gay said.  “We want to make sure we budget some money towards this project in case we don’t get the grant.
He asked Davis if the the Grant would be enough to complete the project.
She replied yes.
The Commission voted 4-0 to go ahead with the application.