Board expands restaurant beer sales to downtown

By PAT BROWN,
 Magee city officials have decided to expand the area in which beer can be served in restaurants.  
Originally beer sales in restaurants was restricted to businesses located on Highway 49.  The newly approved ordinance would allow for beer by the glass to be served in downtown Magee in what is described in the zoning ordinance as the “historic district.” 
Mayor Dale Berry says he has a prospect interested in locating in Magee.  Alderman Whitney Baker also has had an interested party who is considering operating a  restaurant in Magee.  
Baker told the board, “We need to offer the same incentives to downtown businesses that we offer to businesses on the highway.” 
The existing ordinance requires that 60 percent of sales of a business wishing to sell beer must be food orders.  Questioned about selling beer near a school or churches, City Attorney Bruce Smith acknowledged those exemptions were cited but not defined in the existing ordinance,  meaning it is not spelled out exactly how far beer sales should be from those facilities.
The board agreed to form their own Keep Magee Beautiful Committee separate from Keep Simpson County Beautiful.  This was at the request of Evelyn Copeland in an effort to see the program continues in Magee in the future.   
The city of Magee will be hosting two State Softball  tournaments.  One is September 23-25 and the second one on September 30-October 2.  These will be private school associational tournaments.  
Mayor Berry reported a building on Main had been removed, a house on Second Street had been demolished, and a house on Hilton Drive is about to be demolished in addition the awning in front of the Magee Shopping Center had been taken down.  
Bids were opened and disqualified for the removal of trees near Becky Burgers.  The trees are located on city right of way.  There were two bids submitted by Lewis Lawn and Tree Service.  It was disqualified because there were two bids.  There was a third bid from Living Water.  The bids were based on the city providing removal of debris.
Joe Worrell reported the local Veteran’s Day Celebration would be held November 10.  Worrell said that notices of non-compliance had been sent to property owners at 257 Simpson Highway 149, 523 9th Avenue West and 801 Rankin Northwest.  
There was discussion from board members about the condition of the SASE apartments regarding safety and maintenance.  Letters have been submitted to the owners only to be returned as undeliverable.    
Nelvis Rankin reported that water well number five is not working but there is plenty of water through the other pumps until it can be repaired.  
Fire Marshal Charlie Valadie told the board that downtown businesses considering offering food and beverage may not be suitable for large crowds based on the original use of business.  
Valadie also reported the  fire department had opted not to have the ladder truck repaired because of the potential of a hurricane.  The repair location is located south of Mobile.