Hannibal might allow legal drinking outdoors

You might soon have more places to drink alcohol in Hannibal.

The city council is considering making a change to its consumption in public ordinance.

If it passes, it would allow establishments in the downtown area to allow their customers to enjoy a drink outside on a public sidewalk.

As you can imagine, like most things, there are two sides to this.

Pastor Mark Albee says, "We advertise ourself to be America's Hometown. We get a lot of high schools and grade schools, a lot of kids who come through on field trips. The atmosphere of having alcohol on sidewalks..."

Pastor Mark Albee with Immanuel Baptist Church is just one member of a group who spoke in opposition to the city council this week about the ordinance. The ordinance isn't up for a second and final reading until April 19th. The way the ordinance would work is, businesses with a liquor license could apply for an addendum to the license which would let the customers to drink alcohol out on the public sidewalk. The city council feels it's written the change with quite a few specifics in order to keep the peace.

1st Ward Councilman Kevin Knickerbocker says, "If the business owner is unable to control their patrons, control their behavior, control the activities in that area, they would have violations of the ordinance which would eventually lead to a permanent revocation of the addendum."

First Ward Councilman Kevin Knickerbocker says if passed, the burden would be on the business owner. The ordinance would also have time restrictions on it, at 11:00 pm, you have to take the alcohol back inside. You would also have to have your neighbor's permission.

Pam Rivera, owner of Abby Rose Restaurant says, "I think it would be a good thing. I am in favor of it. People do want to sit outside when it's a nice day, have a cup of coffee or tea, glass of wine. I think it's a good thing."

Pam Rivera, the owner of Abby Rose Restaurant says she has customers asking for outdoor seating. Most of the business owners I spoke with say they like the idea, even if they may not do it themselves.

A business owner actually requested this change, so the city council put together a task force to look into it.

Some on the task force visited other cities that allow outdoor drinking.

There will also be an application and review process before the addendum is approved.