Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Riverfront three-ways: Alcoholic beverages vs. square meals?

Earlier today, the discussion turned to legal esoterica, and as I should have known, it wouldn't be simple.

CeeSaw whiffs on a fat pitch as council considers expanding the booze zone.

Having now received a copy of G-06-15 from the city attorney, I may need help from a legal mind (not Legal Bagel, mind you).

I recall at the time of G-06-15's passing in 2006 that council members mentioned "50% food sales" language in the ordinance as making it difficult for those seeking a riverfront area three-way permit to run a booze-only joint (bearing in mind that all permit holders must have foodstuffs available at all times), as opposed to a restaurant dedicated primarily to meals.

Disregarding how convoluted these variations of "bar" and "restaurant" can become, such language is not stated in the ordinance passed by the city council, although reference is made to following the procedures and stipulations included in the state of Indiana's legal playbook:

IC 7.1-3-20-16
Airport restaurants; restaurants in certain economic development areas; redevelopment projects or districts, historic river vessels, cultural centers, historic districts.

However, the only mention I can find of 50% food sales comes under the heading of "service bars" at IC 7.1-3-20-17, which does not seem to apply to the topic at hand.

And yet I trust my memory, and recall council members assuring themselves that the legal language therein would preclude evil dive bars from brandishing cheap three-ways. I'm throwing this out for discussion and clarification, because I'll be tied up with work most of the day:

Exactly what, if anything, exists to prevent a special riverfront three-way permit holder from operating a gin mill, wherein the bare minimum foodstuffs required by the state (and seldom witnessed by customers) are theoretically available, and practically all revenues come from liquor?

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