Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
The Irving City Council could ring in the New Year by tackling the issue of whether to change the ratio on alcoholic beverage sales in restaurants.
The current city ordinance sets a ratio of 60/40 for food/alcoholic beverage sales at restaurants, but the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce and area businesses are asking that the ratio be reversed or changed.
In March, the chamber recommended changing the ratio to 30 percent food sales and 70 percent alcohol sales. Then this fall, the Irving planning and zoning commission voted to recommend the 30/70 ratio.
The Council is expected to discuss and possibly vote on the issue at the Jan. 10 meeting.
Critics have said changing the ration to favor alcohol sales could impact how the community is viewed. They say that easing the ordinance on alcohol sales could negatively affect neighborhoods and even lead to a spike in the crime rate.
Proponents, however, say changing the ratio would present the city as a welcoming place for business and could also bring in more high-end restaurants to Irving. Business owners have also said tourists often opt to drive to other cities to drink and dine, rather than staying in Irving.
In November, at a nearly hour-long discussion of the issue at the planning and zoning commission meeting, Christ Wallace, president and CEO of the Chamber, told the commission that the cost of alcohol has jumped up.
“Some restaurants have chosen to locate their business outside Irving because they cannot meet the current ordinance,” Wallace said.
Jason Curry, a family pastor at Plymouth Park Baptist Church, however, said he fosters children who “come from very hard backgrounds where the environment was abusive and alcohol was part of it.”
A motion to recommend a 30/70 sales ration passed 6-1.