BANGS— In a rare use of his mayoral powers, Bangs Mayor Eric Bishop will request the city council take another look at a potentially illegal approval of alcohol sales.
Citing an opinion made by then Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott regarding a similar ordinance made by officials in Brazoria County, Bishop submitted a letter to the city council requesting they readdress an ordinance passed by the council potentially allowing the sale of alcohol on premises or sale mixed spirit drinks in an unspecified Bangs restaurant.
“It’s similar to a veto power in that it’s different because the only thing it takes to override it is a reconsideration,” Bishop said. “It does not take a higher level of votes or anything else to override this objection. This is the first time I’ve levied an objection on the city council and I’ve been mayor for eight years. It’s obviously not something I cast our every time they do something I don’t like.”
Bishop said Abbott’s opinion determined county law does not supersede established municipal law in the case of regulating alcohol sales. He believes when the city council granted a variance for a restaurant to make on-premise alcohol sales, it did so without realizing the county election approving on premise alcohol sales, as well as sale of mixed spirit drinks does not apply to Bangs because its citizens already approved their own regulations for the sale of alcohol during a previous election last May.
“I am objecting to the passage and adoption of the ordinance tentatively identified as Ordinance 2019-03, which would amend the ordinance regulating the sale of alcoholic beverages in the city following the passage of the local option liquor election called by the Brown County Commissioners Court. It appear to me that revising this ordinance as outline appears to set forth local law that is contradictory with state law,” Bishop wrote in a letter to the Bangs City Council and circulated during the council’s monthly meeting March 11. “Then Attorney General Greg Abbott addressed similar circumstances in AG Opinion No. GA-065 concerning cities and precincts in Brazoria County. No case has been made that this interpretation does not apply. I feel strongly that the ambiguity created by the passage of this ordinance puts the city secretary, local law enforcement and others in the position of having to operate in the grey moving forward.”
With the Bangs City Council not meeting until April 8, city officials have not released an agenda and typically do so within 24 to 48 hours of the meeting. Bishop said he has no issue with the council’s decision, only that they maintain a uniform code when it comes approaching alcohol sales requests.
“We’ve adopted an ordinance and that ordinance regulates the sale of something that I think it is still unclear whether or not it is legal,” Bishop said. “As someone that could potentially come in and make an investment in a place that would be planning on that being in place going forward, when it’s in a grey area, how do we expect someone to put their money into an area?”