LEXINGTON — The Lexington City Council is planning to scrap a section of the city code which makes it illegal for minors to be on the premise of location which sells alcohol after 9 p.m.
The decision to strike the section from the code came up after there was discussion of adding an amendment allowing for an exception to be made for "receptions and meeting halls."
The section currently states it is unlawful for persons under the age of 21 to be on a premise which sells alcohol.
City Manager Joe Pepplitsch said this section of the city code was last looked at in 2004 and there have been several questions about this particular section recently.
One business in particular which had questions was El Tropico, owned by Juan Lazo.
Pepplitsch said Lazo has a liquor license and does sell alcohol on the premise, but hosts multiple events at the location including receptions, weddings, birthdays, quinceaneras, etc. At the moment it is technically illegal for minors to be on the premise of El Tropico after 9 p.m.
Pepplitsch said this is unfair to Lazo, since other businesses like the Holiday Inn, which also host events and sell alcohol were exempt because they also provided lodging.
Other municipalities in the area, like Kearney, don’t even have a section like this in their city codes, said Pepplitsch and state law already covers the sale of alcohol to minors.
An ordinance to add further exemptions to the rule was proposed, but Pepplitsch said the council members had the option to add it, do nothing, or throw the section out.
Council member Steve Smith said if they keep making exemptions to the rule, why have the rule in the first place. Jeremy Roberts said it was in the city’s, "best interest," to throw out the section and "let businesses decide for themselves."
Pepplitsch mentioned bars, where the sale and consumption of alcohol is the primary purpose of the business, would still be prohibited. He said it might be best to, "let people police themselves," at the other locations.
Mayor John Fagot agreed many business owners in the community might want to see this section go.
With the decision made, Pepplitsch said he would bring back an ordinance to strike the section from the city code.
The next ordinance concerned a bit of housekeeping the city had to undertake. Pepplitsch said the issue was brought up by council member Smith who noticed right-of-way had not been established on a portion of Frontier St.
The street had been built on land which had been acquired by the city in 2003 from Lucile Bates when Walmart was interested in building the supercenter building.
A 50 foot piece of ground had been acquired for Frontier St. but never formally dedicated as a public street right-of-way.
Smith said it would be beneficial to formally dedicate right-of-way so it was fully open to public access. Pepplitsch said this ordinance would clean up the description fix this slight oversight.
Mayor Fagot said, "Time to clean it up." The ordinance was passed on final reading and took effect immediately.
The last item was deciding on the date for the council work session. After some discussion the council members agreed to meet on Nov. 2 at 8 a.m.