City waives location near church; other concerns not addressed
Focusing on only one of several issues raised, Marion city council cast a split vote Monday to waive a requirement that a downtown store is too close to a church to continue selling beer to customers.
Mayor Dave Mayfield and council members Jerry Kline, Chris Costello, and Zach Collett voted to grant the waiver “for good cause shown to the governing body.”
Council member Ruth Herbel was opposed.
City code prohibits beer from being sold within 300 feet of a church.
Two weeks ago, council members voted to have police investigate whether Johsie Reid, owner of JR Hatter’s, was in compliance with code.
Reid had failed to provide a letter from Valley United Methodist Church, located a half a block from the back door of JR Hatters, that said the church approved of beer being sold there.
Chief Clinton Jeffrey said he told Reid that her license would be suspended for 30 days if she did not give the city a letter by noon Monday.
Reid brought Valley’s letter to the council meeting Monday night.
Before the vote, council members discussed other city code and zoning regulations that also present obstacles to Reid’s license, but they took no action on those items Monday night.
The building where JR Hatters operates is not zoned for a tavern.
Collett, attending the meeting by telephone, asked whether the building could be rezoned.
Herbel said it could not. A conditional use permit, which has not been requested, would be required.
Another issue was an ordinance requiring separate bathrooms for men and women. The building has only one toilet.
“I think we’re all confused,” Mayfield said, adding that he’d want to know what state statute says.
Zachary Strella, city attorney, said he had researched ordinances he thought council members would need but had not researched ordinances regarding other issues about the license that have surfaced in recent weeks.
Even with those questions unanswered, Margo Yates, planning and zoning secretary, said the vote meant Reid could continue to do what she’s been doing.
City attorney Brian Bina, Strella, Collett, and Costello could not be reached to confirm Yates’ assessment.
In other business, council members voted to approve the police department’s purchase of a salvaged 2019 Ford Explorer with 47,000 miles on it.
The Explorer would be purchased through Midway Motors in Hillsboro using the department’s 2010 and 2011 Dodge Chargers as trades. The price of the Explorer would be $17,500 and Midway would give $5,000 in trade and charge a $299 document fee, resulting in a cost of $12,799.