The Hoover City Council is considering creating the city’s first official entertainment district in the Stadium Trace Village development at the corner of John Hawkins Parkway and Stadium Trace Parkway.
Official entertainment districts, as set out by state law, are designed to allow people to carry open containers with alcoholic beverages outside bars and restaurants within a defined area.
Hoover has never had an entertainment district, but the council on Monday night discussed an ordinance to create one on part of the 44-acre Stadium Trace Village development.
Pat Lynch, a consultant representing the development company for Stadium Trace Village, said an entertainment district would help keep Hoover competitive with other nearby cities that are creating entertainment districts, such as Birmingham and Pelham.
People are looking for a New Orleans-type atmosphere where people can walk outside a restaurant or bar and go from place to place with a drink in their hand, Lynch said.
Having that kind of atmosphere also will help attract more restaurants to Stadium Trace Village, he said.
The developer of Stadium Trace Village also is planning to build an amphitheater for outdoor entertainment and a place for people to gather.
People would not be able to carry “cans, bottles or glass containers” with alcoholic beverages off the premises where they are bought, according to the proposed ordinance. The idea is to have plastic cups, Lynch said.
One different aspect about the Stadium Trace Village entertainment center is that each open container would have to bear the logo from the restaurants or bars in that district or the logo of the district itself, Lynch said. People could not bring alcoholic beverages from outside the district for consumption within the district, and people would not be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage at one location and carry it into another establishment, Lynch said. The idea is for the beverage to be consumed outside, he said.
Parking lots have been excluded from the boundaries of the district, as were many of the businesses that don’t sell alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, such as ALDI and the UAB medical clinic.
No would be able to carry an alcoholic beverage open container that exceeds 16 fluid ounces, and no one would be allowed to exit any of the premises with more than one open container, according to the ordinance.
The police chief or his designee would have the authority to close any entertainment district or require that people disperse from the area if he believes it is appropriate to do so to protect the public’s health, safety and welfare.
The district would remain closed until the police chief, mayor or City Council allows it to reopen.
Councilman John Greene questioned who would have the final say if the police chief, mayor or City Council disagreed about whether a district should reopen. City Attorney Phillip Corley said the council has the ultimate authority in such a situation because the council is the body that creates the district in the first place.
Greene said he plans to vote against the creation of the district because Hoover has never allowed open carry of alcoholic beverages before, and “I don’t know how well that’s going to go over.”
He’s concerned that open carry provisions could make it too easy for people who shouldn’t have alcoholic beverages to gain access to them. The close proximity of Hoover High School also increases the potential that minors could gain access to alcohol brought out of establishments in open containers, he said. There is more supervision from bartenders and servers inside an establishment than there will be outside in public areas, he said.
Also, “Stadium Trace Village is basically a family-friendly shopping center where teenagers both work and shop and families with young children frequent,” Greene said. “An adjacent entertainment district will change the atmosphere of the area by adding events and establishments that cater primarily to adults. Allowing an open container option for that entertainment district further moves away from the family values concept of the area.”
But Greene said he may be alone in his opposition to the ordinance. He has not heard of any other council members opposing it, he said.
The ordinance is scheduled for a public hearing and a vote of the council on July 20.
In other business Monday night, the Hoover City Council:
- Authorized the mayor to enter into an annual agreement between the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency and Hoover Police Department for Hoover police to help monitor a “high-intensity drug-trafficking area” that includes interstates in the Birmingham area. The Hoover Police Department receives $59,000 a year to cover overtime associated such work.
- Authorized the mayor to enter into an agreement with the Lake Cyrus Master Owners Association that give Hoover city employees access to part of the Lake Cyrus community’s common area so city employees can perform maintenance on a bridge that leads into the community.
- Authorized the mayor to fill a vacancy for a part-time firefighter position, with annual costs not to exceed $28,000.
- Authorized the mayor to enter into the city’s annual agreement to be part of the Compact 2020 task force tackling substance abuse and addiction issues in Shelby County.
- Authorized the mayor and city clerk to enter an agreement with the Jefferson County Commission in which the commission supplies equipment for Hoover’s 2020 city election.
- Heard the first reading of an ordinance to amend the city’s noise ordinance to add more exceptions to the ordinance, including exempting special events held by the city, events at the Hoover Metropolitan Complex and events for which the city has given special permission.