Council changes earlier liquor decision

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Cassville city aldermen vote 3-1 to rescind restriction on licenses

By Lindsay Reed

On Tuesday night, the Cassville City Council voted to rescind the ordinance amendment that limited the number of packaged liquor licenses issued in the city limits of Cassville to five.

Prior to the council's decision, visitors were given a limited amount of time to address the aldermen concerning the issue.

"A lot of people are here again tonight that think we need to limit the amount of liquor licenses," said Larry Henbest. "I'm against letting this increase in Cassville. I don't think kids want to buy groceries with alcohol across from the milk."

Brad Lowrie, Bible Baptist Church pastor, argued that limiting liquor licenses would not limit commerce.

"It is serious down grading of society to have alcohol in our community," said Lane Brock. "I wouldn't want to have a part of it."

Another visitor stated that Barry County should become an entirely dry county.

Patrons testified to driving out of Cassville in order to shop at stores that do not sell alcohol. One woman said that drug problems in the community have stemmed from alcohol use.

Several other patrons opposed the amendment to the packaged liquor license ordinance, which was approved on Dec. 20, 2005.

"This is not going to change how much people drink," said John Hendricks. "You're not going to stop people from drinking in Cassville."

Hendricks stated that he would like to see Wal-Mart sell alcohol to attract tourists and other visitors to the Barry County area.

"We spent a lot of money getting the Wal-Mart," said Hendricks. "I would like to see the tourists pay for part of it instead of only the local people."

"I have a mom and a God. The City of Cassville and the 20 or 30 people here are not them," said Renee Sizemore. "If you want to make Barry County a dry county, you need to take it to the polls."

Sizemore asked where the supporters of the liquor limitations were when prayer was taken out of sporting events and the Pledge of Allegiance was taken out of school districts.

"Why can't you be in this much force when they try to take the 10 Commandments down?" asked Sizemore.

"If someone wants to have a glass of wine with their diner that is their right," said Sizemore. "For God's sake, Jesus turned the water into wine."

Donna Gracy, who's sister was killed in an automobile accident by a drunk driver, also agreed that it was not the city's place to pass the amendment to the packaged liquor limitation ordinance.

"Wal-Mart's a done deal," said Aldermen Pete Landstad. "There is no going back on that. We issued that license right after the last meeting."

"In my opinion, council acted in haste trying to address patrons' legitimate concerns," said Landstad. "By taking the action that we took, we had unwanted consequences. All we can do is correct our mistake."

Landstad made a motion to delete the amendment, which limited the amount of packaged liquor licenses to five within the city limits of Cassville.

Alderman Gary Whyte seconded the motion.

"I feel the character and integrity of the council has been questioned," said Alderman Chip Kammerlohr. "We caused harm and hardship to others. It is not the council's place to regulate or legislate morality."

Kammerlohr stated that he acted with his heart on Dec. 20, and then said that the business of the council must be done with business in mind.

"Moral battles can and should be fought, but this is not the place," said Kammerlohr.

With a three-to-one vote, the aldermen rescinded the amendment, which limited the number of packaged liquor licenses to five within the city limits of Cassville. Alderman Sue Brattin opposed the motion.

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