A meeting of the Ordinances and Insurance committee, chaired by councilman Wayne Landry met preceding the city council meeting to discuss amending municipal ordinance 13:22 pertaining to the open container law.
City Attorney Ike Funderburk explained the current ordinance allows people who are waiting in line outside a restaurant (Class R permits only) to consume alcoholic beverages in line, but does not apply to patrons who wish to eat outside in designated seating areas.
The proposed amendment, which the council will vote on during the next city council meeting, Tuesday, Nov. 18, would allow restaurant patrons who are ordering a meal and are seated in an outside dining area, to order and consume alcoholic beverages outside.
Mayor Mark Piazza said this amendment follows the trend of al fresco dining, or outdoor dining, where bistro style restaurants like the Courtyard Cafe serve meals outside the restaurant’s physical walls.
City attorney Funderburk explained that the proposed municipal ordinance is designed to allow diners who want to dine outdoors to consume alcoholic beverages at restaurants that hold a Class R license.
He further explained that establishments that hold a Class A license (bars and nightclubs that are allowed to serve beer and or liquor) are not allowed to serve liquor outdoors, and added that patrons who consume alcoholic beverages from Class A establishments are not allowed to leave the premises with open alcoholic containers. The same goes for Class B establishments like grocery or convenience stores, who are allowed to sell beer or liquor for consumption outside the premises. Patrons buying from Class B establishments are not allowed to consume alcohol on the premises.
Among the topics the council discussed were personnel changes in the police and fire department, the approval of grant money to fund new equipment for the police and fire department, and the development of several short- and long-term airport renovation projects.
Liz Girouard addressed the council to explain the state of several airport renovation projects including repairing cracks in the tarmac, the construction of a perimeter fence, and the purchase of a new localizer which, she explained, are part of a five-year plan, based on recommendations mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in order to improve the safety and security of airport operations.
“Some of those projects that are in the (five-year) plan are in the plan because the FAA (does) inspections and says ‘you need to put that in your plan’,” the mayor explained.
“The airport is not a ‘money maker’ for the city, it’s part of our infrastructure,” Piazza explained, noting that the airport only has about $40,000 in available funds. He added that airport renovations, which currently total nearly $1 million, are designed to meet FAA requirements, but noted that other projects will be financed by other means.
Girouard explained that the airport receives some funding from FAA entitlement grants, which are awarded according to the amount of traffic the airport is predicted to service in a given time period. With the recent sale of Vector Aviation to Evergreen Helicopters, Girouard and the council discussed the role they will play in future airport renovations including the extension of the tarmac and the addition of several new helipads that are needed to keep up with the heavy traffic that is a result of Evergreen Helicopters.
“It would be good for us to get some numbers on what Evergreen is going to expect at our airport so we can show them that before it gets to where it’s not able to be handled with the facilities that we have, we really need to start planning our growth,” Girouard said.
Future airport projects include the sealing of the runway, drainage improvements, the building of one or more new hangars, the extension of the tarmac, the building of the new aviation museum, as well as hiring new technicians to monitor the new equipment that the airport is required to purchase according to FAA requirements.
City-wide improvements are also underway for the repair of Abbeville roadways, and the council discussed pooling funds with the police jury in order to make as many improvements as possible. Repairs are set to begin in 2009, with the acquisition of grant money from the CDBG project and from a capital outlet grant from the office of Sen. Nick Gautreaux.