City Council considers allowing Sunday alcohol sales


Felicia Solomon/ Courier Staff

Melissa Worley discuss potential lift of Sunday alcohol sales ban.

Steven Barnum , News editor

Macomb businesses are not allowed to sell packaged alcohol on Sundays, but a local business is trying to change that as soon as next month.

Melissa Worley, the store director at Hy-Vee, doesn’t want her employees to continue having to remove liquor from the shelves once every seven days. Instead, she asks the council to consider allowing the store – and all Macomb businesses – to sell alcohol between the hours of 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. every Sunday.

Mayor Mike Inman said that the idea to end the prohibition was discussed at a general government meeting last week and that it has been part of a larger discussion for the last few years. Although the ordinance would benefit more than just Hy-Vee, Inman thinks that Worley deserves recognition if the council finalizes the proposal.

“Hy-Vee decided to step up and try to craft an ordinance that they think is beneficial for their business model and beneficial in the community,” Inman said. “I applaud her (Worley) for stepping up.”

There are other alcoholrelated proposals within the ordinance. Although theproposal would allow them to sell packaged liquor on Sundays, they would not be able to sell kegs of beer. If someone in a group wants to purchase alcohol, everyone in the group must show their identification to avoid situations where older friends buy liquor for their underage friends.

Worley seeks to offer customers wine samples for four-hour periods instead of just two hours, and to allow employees who are 18 or 19 years old to authorize liquor sales. With the proposal, the latter will be allowed as long as the store’s computerized checkout system is working properly. Otherwise, those who sell the liquor must be 20 years old.

City Attorney Kristen Petrie said that Worley’s requests are reasonable. According to Petrie, the 20 year old age minimum is in place to prevent irresponsible behavior from younger employees; however, 18-year-old employees in restaurants with liquor licenses are allowed to serve alcohol.

“I moved to Macomb two years ago and I was surprised by the liquor sales law on Sundays. I wanted to come by and show support of these changes,” a resident of 50th Street said from the public comment section.

In terms of an agreement, there is no clear opposition to the ordinance as of now. Inman indicated that the hours of 12 p.m. and 9 p.m. and no keg sales are non-negotiables, but nothing is definite. The first reading for the ordinance proposal is on the agenda for the next meeting and final action is tentatively scheduled on March 18. Elsewhere in Macomb, the council will vote on whether to sell part of the building located at 133 W Jackson St.

The proposal would allow Inman to act as an agent to sell the building, which the city has owned for a year. The city only owns the western half of the building, but according to City Administrator Dean Torreson, the city is trying to acquire the other half as well.

After the council took bid offers, local entrepreneur Chris Trotter separated himself as the frontrunner.

If approved, Trotter will purchase that portion of the building for 80 percent value according to the building’s appraisal.

“The plan here is for Mr. Trotter to rehabilitate this building, starting with a new roof, and making this into usable space again,” Torreson said. “I think his plan is to get started sometime in the spring.”

Trotter’s plans for the redevelopment project relies on the city’s decision to offer him financial help. He also applied for the Downtown Renovation Grant Program, which the council recently amended. If Macomb selects Trotter’s application for the grant, they will give him an additional $20,000 to improve his potential Jackson Street property.

The city will continue to discuss the future for 133 W Jackson St. and the possibility of ending Sunday’s liquor-sale ban during Monday’s meeting at 5:15 p.m.