League City approves first reading of ordinance to allow alcohol consumption at parks

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022
League City residents one step closer to consuming alcohol in parks
Currently, consuming alcohol at parks is only allowed during events that receive a city permit. That could soon change after the ordinance passed in a first reading.

LEAGUE CITY, Texas (KTRK) -- Pending a second reading, League City residents will soon be able to consume alcohol at most city parks.

League City City Council Member Hank Dugie brought before the council the suggestion to change the city's ordinances to allow the sale and consumption of alcohol in all city parks. Today, such activity is allowed only during events that receive a city permit.

Dugie said League City's ban on alcohol consumption in parks is not something residents face in Galveston County parks or in parks across the country.

"I think we in League City should have that same opportunity for our citizens," he said.

Fundamentally, citizens should not have to ask their government for permission to drink a beer or wine at a park, Dugie said.

Dugie said he has heard from several residents who want the ordinance to change to allow alcohol consumption in parks. Dugie pointed out he does not drink and is bringing this to council only due to citizens' requests.

Sarah Greer Osborne, director of communications and media relations, said attendees of the city's Sunday park events regularly request permission to drink alcohol during the events or at parks in general.

Council Member Larry Millican, who was against the ordinance change, said under the existing ordinance, alcohol consumption is allowed at parks so long as a permit is granted.

"I feel comfortable in saying the current ordinance allows that to happen, and very easily, I might add," he said.

He expressed the concern that with the proposed ordinance, alcohol consumption would be allowed at all parks, even ones built specifically for youth activities. Dugie pointed out the proposed ordinance would not allow alcohol consumption at organized youth events.

Millican said residents would theoretically be allowed to tap a keg at any city park under the proposed ordinance. While some residents would drink responsibly, others would not, leading to more interactions with police, Mayor Pat Hallisey said.

Furthermore, Millican said residents and the city's park and 4B boards should have been notified of this proposed ordinance change before it came before council. A motion to defer the item to these boards ultimately failed.

Council Member Nick Long agreed there are concerns about the ordinance. He amended a motion to approve the ordinance to not allow residents to bring their own alcohol to Hometown Heroes Park, Lobit Park and the Chester L. Davis Sportsplex, which are three parks primarily for children. However, alcohol sales would still be allowed at these parks.

"I do think we should err on the side of liberty and not be heavy handed," said Long, who ultimately voted in favor of the ordinance change despite having some concerns about it.

Council Member John Bowen pointed out there are already people who are drinking in parks and simply hiding it. Residents have asked Bowen to legalize "beer and keg leagues" where people play softball in a park against each other while drinking.

"Anytime we legislate, we are taking privileges and rights away from citizens," Bowen said in relation to not changing the ordinance.

The motion passed 6-2 with Hallisey and Millican against.

This article comes from our partners at Community Impact Newspaper.