Fridley Council OKs Beer and Wine at 49er Days
Several council members questioned whether the change in city code opened the door to alcohol at other events.
The one community festival set to benefit from the council's action is 49er Days.
The council considered explicitly limiting the change to 49er Days but in the end approved a more general definition: "Community festivals shall include Fridley 49er Days and other festivals of broad community appeal and participation as designated by City Council."
Council Member Ann Bolkcom wonder whether the change would let the city deny a permit to "20 to 30 people who want to have a party."
City Attorney Fritz Knaak said the council could in practice limit the new code language to 49er Days. "You get to decide what is or is not a community festival," he said.
Bolkcom had doubts: "Lots of times we've said no and we've been taken to court and we've been proved wrong."
The scenario of having another group or event try to sell beer and wine under the new code language is unlikely, according to City Manager William Burns. "I don't honestly think you're going to have the problem," he said.
Council Member Bob Barnett had his own scenario: Could a wedding party be considered a community festival? Knaak said no.
How about an event staged by a group like the "(Fridley) Dog Park Lovers," Bolkcom asked. Would that fit the definition of a community festival?
"Maybe if it had cat lovers too," Burns quipped.
The council approved the code change by a vote of 5-0.