Sylvan LakeMarch 25, 2013
Sylvan council agrees to let voters decide on on liquor service
By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer
SYLVAN LAKE — Voters could decide this fall whether they want restaurants to serve liquor by the glass in the city.
At a March 13 meeting, the City Council voted 4-1 to adopt a policy resolution to support a proposed liquor ordinance’s placement on the November ballot — if enough signatures are gathered to place it on a ballot — for voters to decide. Councilman Russell Meskin was the lone dissenter. Meskin told the Beacon after the meeting that he voted no because, had the vote failed, he would’ve proposed to have the council automatically pass a liquor-by-the-glass policy.
Councilman Aron Lorenz said the liquor situation is one that Sylvan Lake has been passionately discussing for around nine years. He said residents have voted on the issue in the past, but liquor service at restaurants still hasn’t been approved.
“Legally, it’s the residents who need to vote on this, since they have previously voted on it,” Lorenz said. “I believe the residents in Sylvan Lake truly want to have quality restaurants and quality businesses in the area.”
Lorenz said the proposal requires signatures to appear on the ballot, and if asked, he’d help petition residents for signatures.
Currently, restaurants in the city with the proper licenses may serve beer and wine — but not liquor. Such is the case with Mike Larco’s A La Carte, which opened in Sylvan Lake last October.
Paul Mousley, a co-owner of the business, spoke up during public comment on the topic. He said his business has been trying to secure permission to serve liquor by the glass.
Mousley said the restaurant hasn’t served liquor due to the current law, and that means it has not been able to meet customers’ expectations for drinks.
He said the restaurant can’t wait much longer for the city to take action. If the city will not allow the sale of liquor at the restaurant, he said the eatery might have to convert into a Coney Island-type of venue, he said.
“I want to do what I love. Mike (Larco) wants to do what he loves,” Mousely said. “This is where we find ourselves now. Liquor by the glass is how Larco’s has always been and how people expect it to be. … It’s the difference between success and failure, at this point.”
Mayor Mike Zubrzycki said he was sorry to hear about the struggles and said it’s been a topic that has been long discussed in the city. He said it unfortunately takes time to get things done officially and in writing.
“It’s a policy across the board for Sylvan Lake, and we’re doing our darndest to implement something that will protect that character of the city,” he said.
Officials pondered whether the ordinance could go on the ballot in August, but upon learning that no election is currently scheduled for that month, they decided to go with November.