The possibility of someone opening a restaurant that serves both food and alcohol in downtown Coweta could happen now that the city of Coweta has adopted an ordinance amending the code of ordinances.
For decades, an ordinance was in place that prohibited alcohol sales within 300 feet of a school or church. With multiple churches and a school downtown, that meant buildings in the Broadway District could not be used for such an establishment.
Some believe downtown development has suffered as a result.
Many folks have shown interest in opening such a business to make downtown Coweta similar to the popular Rose District in downtown Broken Arrow. Now that could happen.
City Manager Roger Kolman said in 2016, passage of State Question 792 allowed sweeping changes to existing state laws regarding the sale of alcohol and alcoholic beverage laws were rewritten.
“Because of those changes, the city cannot be more restrictive than state statute so we need to change our existing ordinances,” Kolman explained.
By adopting Title 37A as part of city code, the city will now be in compliance with what the state allows. It sets up the occupation tax and requires the city to comply with state requirements that any new vendors who come must go through a review of their zoning and safety compliance with city codes.
“If it is a restaurant that is selling alcohol, along with food, it would be permitted in the downtown area. At least 35 percent of sales must be food,” said Community Development Director and City Engineer Chip Cohrs. “If it is strictly just a bar, it will probably not be downtown.”
Kolman said if a downtown restaurant that serves alcohol falls out of compliance with the 35 percent food sales rule, the Oklahoma ABLE Commission would come in to remove their liquor license. It is monitored by ABLE.
Also at the Aug. 6 city council meeting, council members approved an ordinance that adds small brewer as a special use within certain districts in the city.