City amends alcohol ordinance to allow sales by multiple vendors under 1 roof

W.C. Mann

CULLMAN – The Cullman City Council on Monday approved an amendment to its current alcohol ordinance that will allow multiple vendors to sell alcoholic beverages under the same roof.  This paves the way for beverage sales at developer Shane Quick’s new project, Mae’s Food Hall, and other similar establishments that may come in the future.

The amendment defines a food hall as “A reputable place licensed as a cooperative of 3 or more restaurants located on the same premises sharing the same dining area with not less than 3 separate restaurant vendors each having their own separate storage, refrigeration, preparation, and cooking facilities certified by the Cullman County Health Department, operated by responsible persons of good reputation in which a diversified selection of food and refreshments with alcohol sales within the premises is offered for sale for consumption within the building premises on which the establishment is located that also meets the following requirements:”

The lengthy list of requirements is summarized as follows:

  • The establishment must have at least a 3,000-square-foot dining area.
  • The dining area must accommodate at least 150 customers, and be climate controlled.
  • All spaces in the facility must comply with all building and safety codes.
  • The food hall must have at least three separate kitchens apart from dining areas.
  • At least two of those kitchens must be open at any time the food hall is open.
  • The food hall must meet the requirements for an on-premise alcohol license.
  • Food sales must account for at least 60 percent of the food hall’s income.
  • Alcohol cannot account for more than 40 percent of the food hall’s overall income in any 90-day period.

The amendment makes possible the selling of alcohol by multiple vendors under one roof, which was not previously allowed.  It also establishes a separate license fee for food halls.  Where freestanding single restaurants currently pay $500 per year plus 12 percent of alcohol sales for their alcohol licenses, multi-vendor food halls will pay $1,500 per year plus 12 percent of sales.

Other business on the Warehouse District

The council introduced an ordinance to vacate and surplus the sidewalk along the north side of the Ponder Building, currently used as the outdoor patio for Rumors Deli.  A public hearing will be held to discuss the ordinance on June 26. Quick is the owner of the Ponder building.

The council also discussed the possibility of Saturday street closures on First Avenue Northeast in the district.  Stuart Moore of Book&Barrel Outfitters presented the council with a list of signatures in favor of the closures, representing all but two of the Warehouse District merchants.  Mayor Woody Jacobs and Council President Garlan Gudger, though, noted hearing complaints about the plan from one merchant whose name appeared on the pro-closure list.  There was no petition or request to vote on, and the council decided to suspend discussion until its next meeting to allow city inspectors more time to study the parking situation in the area.

Other business

The council introduced two zoning ordinances: to rezone 1006 Second Ave. NW from manufacturing to business, and to rezone a vacant lot on the corner of Denson Avenue Southwest and Third Street Southwest from Central Business District to residential.  Public hearings for both will take place on June 26.

The council approved several special event requests:

  • “Second Fridays” in the Special Events District on June 9, July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 15
  • The annual MOPAR car show in Depot Park on June 10
  • A block party and antique car show sponsored by Dixie Duds and Decor on Second Street Southeast between Third and Fourth Avenues Southeast on June 10
  • A Cullman Electric Coop traffic safety session on the east service road along Alabama Highway 157 on May 30 and June 27.
  • Cullman City Parks and Recreation’s (CP&R’s) Dinner on First on Friday, May 12 on First Avenue Northeast in the Warehouse District.
  • CP&R’s “100 Hammock Hang” in King Edward’s Park on First Avenue Southwest on May 20.
  • A live band in the parking lot at Buffalo Wild Wings on June 3.
  • A distracted driving rally and candlelight vigil sponsored by Hands on the Wheel at the Cullman County Courthouse on July 23.  The council noted that it could only authorize use of the sidewalk.  Use of the courthouse steps must be approved by the Cullman County Commission.

The council also approved the following resolutions:

  • To adopt the annual Municipal Water Pollution Prevention resolution.
  • To enter into a contract for professional services with CDG Engineers & Associates, Inc. to provide engineering services for Downtown Streetscape Phase IV in the budgeted amount not to exceed $62,700.  This phase will involve work from Fifth Street Southwest to Seventh Street Southwest.
  • To renew the annual general liability and property casualty insurance.
  • To award the bid for traffic camera systems for the traffic department to the lowest responsible bidder, Temple, Inc., in the amount of $6, 974 per system.
  • To award the bid for a high-pressure breathing air compressor for Cullman Fire Rescue to the lowest responsible bidder, Sunbelt Fire, Inc., in the amount of $37,178.40.

The Cullman City Council's next meeting is next Monday evening, May 15, in the Cullman City Hall auditorium.  The public is invited to attend.

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