League City parks to allow alcohol consumption

LEAGUE CITY, Texas -- After another debate, League City City Council on March 22 approved the second reading of an ordinance change that will allow alcohol consumption at most city parks without a permit.

City Council approved the first reading March 8. A second reading and approval was necessary to make the ordinance change official. The ordinance change does not apply to Hometown Heroes Park, Lobit Park or the Chester L. Davis Sportsplex, which are three parks primarily for children.

A few residents spoke about the ordinance. One was former Council Member Greg Gripon, who said under existing League City ordinances, it is illegal for friends to have wine during a barbecue or fishers to drink beer at city parks. Gripon said those things should be legal and favored the ordinance change.

Another resident also voiced support, saying these activities are happening anyway regardless of the law. One resident, however, voice opposition to the ordinance change, saying it may cause residents to become belligerent and start harassing other park users.

Council Member Hank Dugie, who sponsored the ordinance change coming before City Council, said he trusts residents to use alcohol in the parks responsibly and that there are already laws in place to stop "bad actors."

"Taxpayers should not have to ask permission to use taxpayer-funded parks responsibly," he said.

Mayor Pat Hallisey also opposed the ordinance change. While some council members want to change the ordinance to give residents more liberty, that liberty cannot come at the expense of others' rights. Hallisey opposed the ordinance change because he is not worried about the residents who responsibly drink at parks but those who do not, he said.

"Rules are for responsible people," Hallisey said.

Council Member Larry Millican reiterated his point from March 8 that residents should be polled and engaged on this change before it takes effect.

Mayor Pro Tem Nick Long said he has concerns and can see both points of view but that he prefers to change the ordinance now and see how it goes. Long said he would help change the ordinance again if problems arise.

The ordinance change passed 6-2 with Hallisey and Millican against.

"Ill-conceived motions usually end in disaster," Hallisey said, noting other council members will have to fix the ordinance because Hallisey is retiring as mayor this year.

"No problem," Council Member John Bowen said.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.